I ask you to share with me today the majesty of this moment. In the orderly transfer of power, we celebrate the unity that keeps us free. Each moment in history is a fleeting time, precious and unique. But some stand out as moments of beginning, in which courses are set that shape decades or centuries. This can be such a moment.
When I was much younger, still in school, I was fortunate enough to receive a ticket to a Presidential inauguration. It was a good ticket, allowing me to stand not a hundred yards from the podium where the new president would stand as first he was sworn in, and then as he delivered his inaugural address..
Then, as now, it was a time of uncertainty, with wars both cold and hot raising tensions internationally and inflaming passions at home. The campaign just ended had been divisive, as had the primaries preceding it. There was much to weigh down the shoulders of a new president as he waited to take his oath of office, and many reasons to doubt his ability to deliver on the vision for the future that he would share.
The address that I heard that day was eloquent and high-minded. In it the new President asked: