What can I say about my experience in Washington, D.C., during the inauguration of President Barack Obama? It was impossible to get a cab, and every street corner looked like Times Square on New Year's Eve. But enthusiasm and politeness could be measured in kilowatts. And the coming together of people of all races, ethnicities, and social and economic statuses was one of the most heart happy experiences of my lifetime.
I knew from the time my husband, Charles, and I boarded the plane at O'Hare airport that the world had changed. O'Hare was transformed into a portal of hope. At every gate, the mood resembled a family reunion. The good feelings shared among the throngs who dared to brave the long lines, crowds and bitter winter winds to witness this moment in history lifted us off the ground long before we left the runways
And to think, I almost didn't go. The logistical nightmare touched off by the thousands of people who descended on the Democratic National Convention in Denver the night Obama accepted his party's nomination had left me a bit jaded. I have my mother to thank for snapping me out of it. I'm the leader of a civil rights organization and in Obama's hometown, after all. "You've so got to go," she told me. She was so right.
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