With those four words, Barack Obama set sail – our Captain of the American enterprise with us as the crew – on a new journey in American history:  a history that all but chafed against such an event that occurred today in Washington, D.C.   With Obama’s inauguration, the words contained in the Declaration of Independence proclaiming that “we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, and endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights” were pulled from the yellow pages of history to take on new life, never ringing more true or holding more promise.

Our Nation’s history is replete with human tragedy – from our decimation of Native Americans to the slave trade and slavery with its horrendous treatment of an entire race of fellow human beings to our fear, loathing, and internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.  But it is also brimming with triumphs from the birth of this great country upon the shoulders of our Founding Fathers to the building of the most powerful country in the world to the accomplishments of thousands of Americans too numerous to list.

Today – today – what seemed impossible in my generation – the 50s and 60s  – has come true.  In high school, I watched on TV almost daily the hatred spewed from the lips of southern politicians and public officials as they battled against desegregation and the entrance of blacks into southern schools and universities.  They stood arrogantly and defiantly in the doorways of their states’ public educational institutions, bracing themselves against what would be the inevitable mingling of blacks with whites.

The most basic rights that we today take for granted and accept were long denied to African-Americans.  The simple act of sitting at a lunch counter waiting to be served was against the law.   The police battled peaceful demonstrators with brutal force, using fire hoses spraying torrents of water strong enough to knock those targeted off their feet.  Billyclubs were used indiscriminately and with no remorse.

Presidents Kennedy and Johnson were both called upon to send in National Guard troops to ensure that the law desegregating the schools would be obeyed.  Day after violent day, I watched as citizens fought to prevent other citizens from being treated with dignity and enjoying the basic, common rights already attendant to being white.

But integration in the southern schools was not the only racial barrier that finally fell in the 1960s.  From early colonial days, laws were set in place to criminalize the cohabitation and marriage of whites and blacks, fueled by reliance on Biblical admonitions and a fear of “mongrolizing” the white race.  Not until the case of Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S.  1 (1967), did the last remnants of the anti-miscegenation statutes fall.  The Supreme Court made clear by a 9-0 vote that the right to choose with whom you wish to spend your life is a fundamental right not to be abridged by outdated theories and racist ideologies.

Today, we move forward to a new beginning – a new vision of our country where the words of our founders ring true.  Their words were set down in our Declaration and in our Constitution – a Constitution that is the shortest in the world and the longest-lived in the world.  And just as our Founders planned, despite the crises we have suffered throughout our history, today we witnessed a peaceful and seamless transition, not only from one Commander in Chief to another, but also from words set forth on parchment over 200 years ago across the centuries to a fulfillment of that promise – “we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

And I cried.  And I cried this weekend watching the concert at the Lincoln Memorial remembering how I stood on that very spot two years ago looking up at the cream-colored face of Abraham Lincoln.  I cried watching Barack Obama taking the Oath of Office.  I cried in remembrance of those struggles of the past two centuries and especially those that I remember from the 60s.  And I cried with happiness and a new-felt freedom for the promises that I unabashedly knew lived in our Constitution and the realization that those promises have finally come to pass.

Photo Credit:  New York Times (Peter Baker)


About Charlotte A. Weybright

I own a home in the historical West Central Neighborhood of Fort Wayne, Indiana. I have four grown sons and nine grandchildren - four grandsons and five granddaughters. I love to work on my home, and I enjoy crafts of all types. But, most of all, I enjoy being involved in political and community issues.
This entry was posted in Barack Obama, Democracy, Democrat Party, Democrats, U.S. Constitution, U.S. Presidency and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. lastpersonleft says:

    Eloquently articulated…
    My sentiments exactly!

  2. alex4140 says:

    indeed we usher in a new era

  3. Norma says:

    With those four words, Barack Obama set sail to sink us.

  4. Mike says:

    What got me was when she said that she was “finally proud to be an american”.
    So, she wasn’t proud to be an american when her husband was governor?
    She wasn’t proud to be an american when our troops were getting killed so that we could be free?

  5. Mike:

    Are you talking about Michelle Obama or some other woman? If you are talking about Michelle, your knowledge of what has transpired over the past two years sure is lacking. Obama was a senator, not a governor.

    And, let me ask you this – when were our troops getting killed so that we could be free? Vietnam – no; Desert Storm – no; Iraq and Afghanistan – no. These excursions into other countries had nothing to do with our freedoms. Vietnam, Iraq (in Gulf I), and Afghanistan and Iraq (today) were not invading us and threatening our shores.

    Vietnam was undertaken to stop the dreaded “Domino Theory.” Gulf War I was fought to kick Iraq out of Kuwait. The excursion into Afghanistan was retaliation against Osama bin Laden and this recent fiasco in Iraq has been fought to prop up the grandiose schemes of a manipulative president who thought he had a god-given mission to spread democracy and Christianity.

    Wake up – our troops deserve honor, respect, and support, but they sure don’t deserve to be sent to foreign shores to die for the schemes of egotistical presidents.

  6. Mike says:

    I sat right there and watched her say it. I’ll have to admit that I had doubts about Iraq. It was like we attacked and found a reason later. But, obviously you were asleep when they flew the jets into the trade center.

  7. Mike:

    Two things:

    First, I was calling attention to the fact that you referred to Obama as being “governor.” He was a senator. I know the statement to which you are referring. It was played over and over so that right-wingers could grasp at straws.

    Second, Osama bin Laden was based in Afghanistan and was behind 9/11. The 9/11 commission found there was no involvement by Iraq in the 9/11 attacks. Perhaps you were asleep when the report came out, or worse yet, you just refuse to acknowledge that Iraq had no bearing on 9/11. I can’t believe that any thinking American would not acknowledge Bush’s manipulation of the 9/11 situation for his own goal of attacking Iraq.

    The worst thing is that almost all Americans bought it – hook, line, and sinker. And cheered like they were at a football game when Bush launched shock and awe in Iraq.

    Members of a terrorist group flew into the towers; it was not sanctioned by the country of Afghanistan like the attack on Pearl Harbor by Japan. The difficulty in this entire terrorist mess is that they operate out of countries and are not the countries themselves. They are not nations or states. They are organized groups of individuals who have a mission.

  8. Dave MacDonald says:


    Exactly how is President Obama’s bombing of Libya different than President Bush’s defending innocent Iraqis from Saddam Hussein?

  9. Dave:

    I am not sure where you got that idea, and why you posted under this article which is two years old. I have said repeatedly on Facebook and in my answers on my blog posts that I disagree with Obama’s decision.

    Are you just assuming I support it because I am a Democrat?

  10. Dave MacDonald says:

    I’m not assuming. In your most recent post, you appear to me to be defending President Obama’s actions: “this intervention is not a regime change. Gadhafi will still remain. The operation was to create a no-fly zone – not to dethrone Gadhafi.”

    Appears you are making the case that Obama’s decision (unlike Bush’s)is justifiable since his intent is not regime change. Where exactly did you say you disagree with his decision? I apologize as I haven’t seen that. Thanks.

  11. Dave:

    In my very last response on the “Odyssey” article, here is what I said to you:

    “I did not agree with Bush, and I do not agree with this. But the issue you are raising has to do with authority, and it appears he has that authority.”

    I was addressing the issue you raised in posting the video.

    Here are some posts I have entered on Facebook:

    1) I am truly stunned at the number of Democrats who are now saying it is a great idea to go into Libya – yet as to Iraq. No dice? I see this as hypocrisy. If we didn’t approve of Iraq, how do we justify Libya. Sorry, I think Libya is a mistake, just like I thought Iraq was a mistake – regardless of who is president. No wonder both parties get labeled as flip-floppers.

    2) I disagreed with his decision, but isn’t it interesting that no one is happy – except Senator McCain? (I included a link to an article with this statement).

    3) Jumping in over our heads again. The governments are saying they are only interested in the no-fly zone, but I wonder how long before it turns into a call for regime change?

    And, I just sent my comments on disagreeing with Obama’s decision to Democracy for America.

    Perhaps I should have been stronger in my disagreement on my blog – I was much more so on Facebook, but I realize that you don’t see those. I believe it is hypocritical to disprove of Iraq and then turn around and agree with Libya.

    My point on the no-fly zone as opposed to regime change is that I think many people who are in favor of this have the incorrect assumption that we are there to remove Gadhafi. I would still disagree if the goal was to remove him – I oppose involvement at all.

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