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Marlene H. Phillips Headshot

"'Begin Again the Work of Remaking America'"

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Overwhelming.

As I watch the coverage of the Inauguration of President Barack Obama, young and old, famous and not, they all say that one word over and over again. The sheer beauty of the day, the history of the first African American president, the spectacle of the dignified and orderly transition of power - it is overwhelming.

I feel it too. My tears started when the President raised his hand to take the oath (bungled by the Chief Justice, who tried to do it from an obviously faulty memory) and continued, with goosebumps, through the moment the President entered the Senate lunch and I first heard him regaled with Hail To The Chief.

But as I sit in front of my television, I'm not just crying, I'm also dancing. I am dancing with joy to see the transfer of power from a man who governed in secrecy and subterfuge to one who pledges in his Inaugural Address "to do his business in the light of day." I am thrilled to see power transferred from an administration that boasted of not caring what the American people thought of them to one who "wants to restore the vital trust between a people and their government." I feel a deep and profound sense of hope for my country to see the last of a man who thumbed his nose at the Geneva Convention to one who says America's ideals "still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sakes." My heart sings to see the passing of the baton from the president who took the most vacations to one who speaks of "a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly."

But most of all, I stand before my television and shout, exult, applaud and salute the man who says to the nation and the world:

Our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions -- that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

There is so much to be done; an economy to heal, a nation's confidence to restore, a restoring of our place in the world. A war that should never have been fought needs to end. A prison where torture was committed in our name must be closed.

We need a leader in the White House. Now we have one. You bet I'm overwhelmed. With relief. And pride.

"We have chosen hope over fear."

Amen.