There's been a few times in my life when I've seen history in the making. When I was in grade eight, our principal announced one November day that President John F. Kennedy had been shot. Our classroom was silent as we awaited news of the President's condition. When the news finally came, it was as bad as it can get... President Kennedy was dead. Even though we were Canadian kids, we were all in shock. We probably knew more about President Kennedy than we did about our own Prime Minister.
In the decade of the 60s, there were two other assasinations...those of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy. Again, the shocks reverberated around the world. Then in 1969, the first landing of man on the moon. I sat in our living room with my six month old daughter on my lap and watched as Neil Armstrong said, That's one small leap for man, one giant step for mankind.
There have been other historical happenings that I've witnessed since then, but none have been quite so glorious as today, when the first African American President was sworn into office. Yes, Barak Obama is now the President of the United States of America. This is a day I never dreamed would happen in my lifetime, but I'm glad it did. What giant steps have been taken in my lifetime. Steps that, as a teen, I thought I would never see.
Let me step back in time for a moment. When I was six years old, my parents took me and my siblings to Niagara Falls. It's the furthest we'd ever been from home. We'd been raised to treat all people with respect and dignity. My father was adamant that all people were created equal and he was the first one to stick up for anyone who wasn't being treated well. Dad taught us right from wrong from the time we were babies, as did Mom.
On this particular trip, my mother took me and my sister to the bathroom near the falls. As we entered, I noticed a sign on the outside of the building that said, Whites Only. Though I was young, I sensed something horribly wrong. Why would only white people be allowed in a bathroom? Then, upon entering, there was an African American woman cleaning the floor. This confused me even more. Why, if whites were the only people allowed in the bathroom, was this lady doing the cleaning? I asked my mother and all she did was hush me and tell me we'd talk about it later.
Through the years, many things happened that shouldn't have happened. I begin to study Black history, including slavery and the Underground Railroad, so much so that it became a passion for me. I dug deep into the history books and have learned a lot from what I've read. I've watched movies and documentaries on the issue of slavery. Once in Niagara Falls, New York, we unknowningly walked into a black restaurant. I couldn't figure out what was wrong with that, as I saw no difference between these people and myself except for the color of their skin.
Through all of this, I never thought that there would ever be an African American President elected during my lifetime. It seemed to be so far away. But we never know what God has planned and in November 2008, Barak Obama was elected as President of the United States...a historic moment in time. Today, I was able to once again watch history in the making as I watched Barak Obama being sworn in as President, his wife, Michelle, holding the Lincoln Bible. I am so glad that I lived to see this historical event and that, as young boys, Brandon and Jordan were able to also witness it also.
President Obama has a tough row to hoe. He has become President at a time when his country is at war and in a deep economic crisis. Please join me in praying that God will guide him along the path that he must lead. History was made today. ~Blessings, Mary~