My lovely bride and I have been watching the news as we lead up to today's Inauguration of the 44th President of these United States of America. She has teared up several times at what is being shown and expressed the overwhelming emotion of this historic time. She commented that I don't seem to be feeling it - Oh, but I am. I sit watching people filling the National Mall, consider the upcoming events, and my throat closes with emotion. I take deep breaths and hold on until the next wave hits.
You might ask why I would feel this way, and I will tell you that I remember sitting in a junior high classroom when the public address system suddenly came on to announce, "We repeat President Kennedy has been shot!" I recall standing around the campus in groups, unable to believe what we were hearing. I remember hearing the news and sitting riveted to the television following the news of Bobby Kennedy's assassination. I recall listening to and being so uplifted, so challenged, so powerfully stirred by the "I have a dream" speech. And, I am so sorry to say, I remember how devastating it was to hear that the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had been assassinated.
I've listened to racists and those who understand that we all bleed red, and know those who live and breath Republican values as well as those who live and breath Democratic values. I simply find myself thinking over and over, we've reached a major milestone! I helped get here, not only voting for my new President, but serving as a precinct captain for Senator Obama during out time in Iowa. I feel a new sense of hope, I sense a real desire to change the business and usual attitudes, and join my new President in calling people to start rediscovering volunteerism, to help lift all of us to a better place and time.
So anyone who tells you men don't cry, don't get choked up, hasn't really been around people who are strongly committed to a cause, and I'm proof of that. I've had doctors comment about my high pain threshold, and many comment on my apparent lack of emotion - well, there is also something to say for staying calm and focused on achieving the goals.
The emotion is there, and I promise you I'll be praying everyday that no crazy deprives Michele and the girls. and our nation of this profound man who drew young people back to a civic right they felt just didn't matter. I hope you will join me in volunteering, praying for our country and our new President and learning to allow your emotions to be real for those around you. We all need to learn that!