January 20, 2009
Eyewitness to History
I am seated on the Southwest side of the U.S. CapitolÂ Building waiting for this defining moment in history: the inauguration of the first African American president, Barack Hussein Obama.
Leaving from Greenbelt, Md., it took more three and a half hours to arrive here today. My companions and I made our way through subway cars that had sardine-style packing, a walk with the multitudes from the waterfront to the Capitol and passing by the vendors who view this as a day of commerce, figuring out a color-code system — I’m in the orange section — that was tough to crack and dealing with the bitter cold.
But I feel more than warmth. I feel the electricity of this historic milestone as the band plays Jefferson’s March and dignitaries — members of Congress, governors and D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty –fill the bleachers on the platform where new leader of the free world will be sworn in. I feel the electricity of the crowd that I’m seated with — some who traveled from across the globe. It’s heartening to see the gathering of friends and families reveling in this historic moment.
I hear the chants from the onlookers around us — “Yes We Can, Yes We Can”– as they prepare for a new era of promise and change. We are eyewitnesses to history, ready to share each moment with those who couldn’t be here and generations to come. As I watch this moment, I think of my nine-year-old nephew who can now believe he can achieve anything he wants. I, too, can reinforce this philosophy that he has no limitations and share with him the moment it become true.
Derek T. Dingle is the editor-in-chief of Black Enterprise magazine