Inauguration Reactions: The Making of a Memory in January

As a “baby boomer”, I have seen and done many things during my 60 years in the world. I grew up to see technical innovations, the space race, and the transformation of the United States in the 1960’s. I have traveled all over the country as a child with a father, who was a career military man. I have even traveled the world during my stint as a Seaman. I have seen the hard life of the streets and walked the hallowed halls of the university, receiving a Master’s in Criminal Justice, some twenty-plus years ago.

The events of my past tie into the major event I will soon see in my future, President-elect Barack Obama’s Presidential Inauguration. I must admit that this milestone in our nation’s history brings to me pride, wonder, and nostalgia. Along with all these emotions, comes what a man like me finds hard to admit, fear. Barack Obama has been talking about change and I know all about and I have seen change, I have embraced it. I will embrace inauguration day with as much enthusiasm as I can, even though I am still filled will wonder.

I must admit that the new transformation of the nation is difficult for me and many like me. I grew up, as a young boy, to understand that the integrity of a military person was never to be questioned. It was an inconvenient truth in my twenties, during my own military experience to see the opposite. Many Vietnam veterans were not received and revered like the military men of my father’s wars. To me, McCain was the epitome of courage and strength during that misunderstood war in Vietnam and to see the shift away from the honor that men like him deserve brought up many painful memories for me.

I must add too, that I am white. But, color has never been an issue with me in this situation. Most of us, who remember the 60’s, have evolved from pointless racism. As a man, though, who has seen the ins and outs of criminal justice, it is hard to trust the integrity of an attorney. Most in the criminal justice field feel similar. As an older person, as well, it is hard to trust the unfounded optimism of the youth and their vote. I remember when I was young and saw many activists hitting the streets in protest and to me it was simply chaos.

But, then it was “word of mouth” grassroots campaigning while now technology has advanced us to internet activism and social networking. Some have even said the Obama won because of his extensive internet presence. All of this is a wonder in itself. I must admit that some of the fear, too, comes from recalling the tragedies of innovative men like Obama. I vividly recall the assassinations of both Kennedy brothers, Martin Luther King Jr. , and Malcolm X. When I hear reports of dissidents in the U. S. , I fear for this man, because I know that this can happen, because it has happened. I wonder if the youth think about that much.

In closing, I would like to say that I was proud of both candidates that ran for President in 2008 and will be proud of Obama, when he takes the honor in 2009. I feel as if I am passing the torch into a new era, a torch that has been burning now for some years without me even realizing it. It will take a lot of acceptance and expectations for this new generation, but I am confident that they can handle the charge appointed not just to the President, but to them, as well. As long as the conception of honor and integrity stay always on the table, I can rest assured that the next four years will be memorable and momentous.

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