Today was both a very moving and a spectacular day. Watching the inauguration from beside the Washington Monument, there were undoubtedly a few moments in the speech that the people around us found very special. My own favourites:
"Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions — who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage."
"And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and we are ready to lead once more."
"...because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace."
"To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist."
Indeed it was full of such minor starbursts. Perhaps this is the greatness of the text - that everywhere you look, there are messages that speak to the heart of someone or some question. President Obama - as we can now call him - offers no universal solution but challenges us to join him in seeking the right answers for our time.
I intend to do that and invite you to do the same.