Many more of us got to witness history Tuesday, shuttered inside as we were due to snow.
It was a day to set aside politics and rejoice at the swearing in of Barack Obama, the first African American president.
Two miles away and 46 years ago on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream.
And Tuesday, we were closer to mending the tear in our cultural fabric, the tear that comes about due to history and the failings of the human heart.
I take seriously the work that still needs to be done. But for a moment, we could see the dream in sight, and sing the words of the anthem of the Civil Rights Movement, “We shall overcome.”
I listened to King’s speech recently during the observation of his birthday and was struck by his overwhelming hope and belief in the human spirit. He truly believed in the best of human nature. I found it to be almost like a tonic.
And that’s what Tuesday was. There is something about ceremonial events that allow us to dream and hope again.
In the midst of some of the worst problems our nation has faced since World World II, we could come together as a people and celebrate our ideals.
I got to watch the inauguration with my eight-year-old son John, dressed in his snow clothes, ready to hit the white stuff.
John had been scheduled to wear red, white and blue and eat an American cheese and ham sandwich with his white, black and brown classmates.
Instead, he was at home with me due to the 5 inches of snow that blanketed the ground.
He especially liked Rev. Joseph Lowery's benediction where Lowery added some humor to his prayer calling for a day of equality: “when black isn’t asked to give back; when yellow isn’t mellow; when brown can stick around; when the red man can get ahead man and when white would embrace what is right.”
I’m old enough to remember segregated schools. But I also remember integration, and the new black friends I made.
But the inaguration, like integration, not only was celebratory, but a challenge to live up to those the victories, to let my heart grow bigger. To do, as Lowery called for, "what is right."
I wonder with hope and dreams at what hurdles we’ll jump in the world as far as human relations go when my son is my age.
And to borrow some more of Lowery’s thunder: “Let all those who do justice and love mercy, say Amen, say Amen and Amen.”