My Fellow Citizens:
We gather here today as citizens of a great nation. We have arrived from all parts of this country. We arrive awakened to both the necessities and possibilities of freedom. We arrive inspired by the hopes and aware of the challenges of our shared future. And we arrive with a solemn task--yet one that can bring us the greatest joy; the responsibility that can bring the greatest satisfaction to ourselves, our families and communities. To join together with strength of hope, knowledge, determination and unity to rebuild this nation.
In recent years, as we have been buffeted by attack and crisis, many have been imbued with fear, distracted by division and polarization, made distant from the values that in their hearts they knew lay at the core of this nation.
Yet from this darkness, the force of life that we have seen emerge, time and time again, from this great nation has arisen, moving us together, towards the unity and freedom that, from the core of this land, provides a beacon of strength and hope that can light and inspire the world. From the cities and towns across this country, in the face of division and disunion, in the face of foreboding and fear, we found together our unique American capacity for hope--and for a willingness to rise above that fear as one to make that hope a reality.
One nation that is determined to demonstrate its strength by realizing its values. One nation that can face its challenges as reality, not illusion, by fully recognizing and employing the talents, desires, strengths and aspirations of all of its people. One nation that has refused to continue to live under shackles of fear and darkness. And one nation that will join together, black and white, young and old, rich and poor to create, as was said so long ago, a more perfect Union--one strengthened by our knowledge that as each of us is equal, each of us must contribute--and that will face the challenges ahead with the knowledge that the person beside them shares that responsibility and commitment.
The days ahead will be hard. None of us can or ever should claim perfect knowledge. But what we can face and shoulder together, we can and will achieve together--with the joy of contributing to our lives, the lives of our family and community, and to the future of this nation.
Our time, as always, is short. And, with this knowledge, we begin. Within each of us is the recognition that we can share this burden--if we know that each of us is dedicated to the tasks ahead. There will be doubts. Crisis will breed the narrow temptations of cynicism and division. We know: These are but small and momentary distractions from the reality of what each of us, each day can create and contribute. With our hands, with our hearts, with out persistence in the face of division and distraction, with our determination to forge ahead through both the familiar and unknown barriers that lay before us, we will bind together the strength of this nation. With the strength of a citizenry bound by a true patriotic unity--beyond race, beyond Party, together--with the strength and dedication of the fullness of our talents, and freed and full measure of our devotion, we will meet those challenges, and fulfill our promise beyond measure.
Monday, January 19, 2009
My Fellow Citizens: