Tuesday, January 20, 2009

This One Belongs to Dad!!

It gives me great pleasure to turn over this entry to Dad...who witnessed history and the dawning of a new day for our county...Dad, take it away.

Well, they don't get much wiser than our Arlie Rufus, so I thank him so for the chance to share a few thoughts about today and what I witnessed. Today, I'm more proud to be an American than ever. We are all proud and loyal Americans, but there are a few times in our lives when we say "Today, everyone in the world wants to be an American" and today was that day. I was fortunate to join 2 million Americans, as well as those from England, Trinidad and Tobago (friends from both with me today), as well as countless others who shared in this moment in Washington, DC. It was cold as we awoke at 530 a.m. and made the mad rush to the Mall. Cold, weary, but filled with the same hope that brought us to this day, we made friends, helped folks get the best camera angles; watch the jumbo tron from the mall with the capital ahead of us. I don't know if I can put into words watching OUR new president step down to the capitol steps. It made my knees weak knowing what was about to happen. As Justice Roberts completed giving the oath and our new President said "so help me God." I burst into tears. The African-American young man behind me tapped me on my shoulder, reached out his hand, gave me a fist bump, then shook it and we embraced. Then, the older African American man next to me grabbed my arm and shook my hand and then gave me a hug. That's what today all was about. People of all colors, races, religions, ages, sexual orientations were dancing, hugging, crying together. It was the most moving, important event I have ever witnessed.

As I have returned to my hotel room and send this to all of you, my eyes are still filled with tears. Our feet are tired for sure, but our hearts are filled with pride...pride in not only our nation for giving us this historical moment, but pride in our citizens as well all take President Obama's dream of serving our communities, schools, churches, neighbors and nation in a way we have never seen in our history. I'm so glad President Obama asked us to give of ourselves -- that's been a long time coming and what makes this man and his mission so very special.

Arlie, thank you for giving me this time. I miss you so very much and cannot wait to come home, and share a tear with you, Foster and Dad. Because today WE ARE ONE!!

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