Witnessing the excitement of a nation

By Mark Lowry - Reporter Photographer

I have seen inaugurations in the past and nothing in my lifetime even remotely compares to the inauguration of our 44th president.

I covered this story in the typical community newspaper fashion… exploring how it affected us locally.

I set out to capture our youngest residents watching what will certainly be a memorable event in U.S. history, and a story they will tell their children when they are older.

Obviously the inauguration was a huge event, but I didn’t get a great sense of the scope of that until I saw that the excitement reached all the way down to the very young.

I observed fifth graders saluting as participants on the television saluted, and smiles as the president’s children were shown.

When President Obama was introduced I actually heard a little girl gasp in excitement.

There were claps from the children when Vice-President Joe Biden was sworn in.

I think the most interesting reactions I saw came from the first-graders.

When I was that age my only memory was recess and earthquake drills.

The youngsters at Discovery Elementary were clearly moved by what they were watching.

I watched as the children were glued to the television, watching it as if it were the latest and greatest cartoon.

There seemed to be genuine understanding of what a great event this was.

As President Obama gave his Oath of Office I observed true glee as one girl clasped her hands and smiled as if she had seen a long lost family member. Her friend actually gasped and covered her mouth with her hands.

These were some very young kids moved by a very large event.

I am glad I was there to witness that.

All excitement aside, this is a very difficult transition of power.

President Obama has inherited an amazing set of circumstances which will take more than just a little work to repair — a huge deficit, unemployment, and an on-going war among other things.

I keep hearing people talk of “hope” with President Obama and I truly want that hope to help our country get back on its feet.

But President Obama is just one man.

He will need the help of many.

President Obama said “For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies.”

Now that he is in office and can start with the work of being Commander-in-Chief, we will need to rally as Americans and do our part to help our fellow countrymen.

My personal feelings are things will get considerably worse before they get better.

We need to remember that President Obama can’t walk into the White House, wave a magic wand, and have all our troubles disappear.

Give him some time, give him support, and most importantly, when things get really tough, help your neighbors, friends, and help the strangers that really need help.

If we all do the right things and show some compassion for each other, we will all be better off at the end of the day.

On that note, thank you to the nice lady who saw I was struggling with a plastic bag at Costco last week.

She just came up and gave me a bag she had opened and took my bag from me. Also, the man who took my cart for me after I loaded my items into my car.

These may seem like ridiculous tiny acts but those two things made my day…and if we all did one or two things like that for other people, perhaps it will help our entire country get back on track.