Tuesday, January 20, 2009

To Consecrate and Begin

I was on 37th Street and 8th Avenue in the greatest city in the world when Barack Obama became President of the United States. The blessing preceding his swearing in (despite the fact that it was delivered by Rick Warren, who concluded in a decidedly non-ecumenical way) included the preamble of the Sh'ma, stirring up thoughts of my own patchwork childhood, and the words Obama graced us with, he who is restoring us to the power of language, made me proud to be a part of these small and great communities. Out last night, it occurred to G and I that our entire time in NYC - almost eight years - has been defined by the Bush Administration. I feel like I've moved without moving...

"So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America’s birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:

'Let it be told to the future world...that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive...that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it].'

America. In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children’s children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God’s grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations."

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