I read the letter that President-elect Obama wrote to his two daughters prior to today’s Inauguration, and so it is in that light, for the benefit of my own two daughters, that I write my thoughts on what I witnessed today.
My wife suggested that we watch the Inauguration together. It is a Tuesday, a normal workday. But the day is more relevant as it is the day after a holiday, the birthday of Martin Luther King. So although I had much work to do, I asked another lawyer to cover a ministerial hearing, cancelled an appointment, and spent the day with my wife.
We drove to a local restaurant and sat at the bar. We ordered drinks, real drinks, and lunch. Throughout the restaurant were the flat-screen TV’s, the one closest to us on CBS.
As it got closer to the ceremony, the bar filled up. At one point the bartender, Arthur said: This is the most people I’ve seen here at this time ever, I already love Obama.” Clearly a tongue-in-cheek comment that Obama was already fixing the deteriorating economy.
I had this prevailing thought: “Why is this such a big deal?” I’ve seen Inaugurations. Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Bush.
Then the prayer by Rick Warren. People in the bar were praying along with him.
Then the cheer when Obama was sworn in. Then the speech.
The bar was silent. People were eating and drinking, and saying nothing.
When President Obama spoke of his father not being able to get a seat in a restaurant less than 60 years ago and now he was taking the oath of the highest office in the land – it hit me.
The significance, at least to me, was that we had elected a black man.
I immediately wondered what it must be like to be black in America, today. The feeling, the empowerment. The joy.
So yes, he’s 47. He’s cool. He plays basketball. He has two girls like me. But what almost drove me to tears was the realization that he is the first black President of the United States.
Tonight I took my kids to dinner, their mother, my wife, was out with my sister. My kids began spontaneously singing the national anthem. My 9 year old was remembering things President Obama said in his speech. She watched it in school today. My 6 year old got excited when I told her she could watch the President dancing with his wife on TV tonight.
Republican, Democrat, whatever. Today was special. Really special.
Located in Miami, Florida, Brian Tannebaum practices Bar Admission and Discipline and Criminal Defense. Read his free ebook The Truth About Hiring A Criminal Defense Lawyer. Please visit www.tannebaumweiss.com