Remember this day

Yesterday I spent the hours from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. doing something that I've never done before: celebrating the birthday of one of the most influential leaders in American history. I had to be there for a class, but that doesn't matter. What matters is that it made me realize how historic today -- January 20 -- really is.

Countless speakers talked spoke about Martin Luther King Jr. and his dream. How much he did in his short 39 years. How he changed the face of America and gave hope to millions of people. We've all heard about his dream in history classes or on TV. Over the years since King's death, we've seen this dream start to materialize. Sure, there is much more to be done, but on Monday I heard speaker after speaker say one thing: when Barack Obama takes the oath, King's dream will be realized.

It was hard not to get a little emotional as I watched the oath and the speech that followed on a small screen in the middle of the bookstore I work at. This is a historic day. Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, Independents, everyone has to realize how importance of this event. Whether you like his politics or not, how amazing is it that America has elected an African-American president just 40 years after the death of King?

I sat there hoping -- like my friend Chris -- that the bullets wouldn't come. That fear will never go away. We've come far, but we obviously have much farther to go if we have to constantly worry about our president going out in public.

My friend was at the inauguration, standing on the mall just behind the pool in front of the Capital. He said he got choked up during the speech. There were shots of people in Manhattan and Harlem just standing out in the streets -- stopping whatever they were doing -- and watching Obama speak. There is excitement in the air. There is hope. There is love.

I'm so proud to be an American today. I never thought I would see this so early in my life. Here's to the next eight years.

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