A sampling of the best commentary from around the country on this historic day.
“This is the day we never thought we would live to see, the one our grandparents prayed for, the one that inspired my wife Gayle to wear a pair of her late father's glasses into the voting booth so she could watch herself vote for Barack Obama through his eyes.”
“And so it has happened, this very strange convergence. The holiday celebrating the birth of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. became, in the midnight hour, the day that America inaugurates its first black president,” Bob Herbert writes in the New York Times.
“The American heart will stir this day with pride and hope as the powers of the presidency of the United States, magnificent in their promise, terrible in their burdens, are vested in a man of groundbreaking heritage and grand aspirations,” the New York Daily Newssays.
“At noon this day, Barack Hussein Obama will become the 44th leader of the Republic, sworn to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution, as were Washington and Jefferson and Lincoln before him and others great and obscure. May he prove to be great in these troubled times.”
“Is Tuesday's inauguration special? Of course. The son of an African immigrant will become president of a country where, just a few years ago, people with black skin were denied basic civil rights. That can't ever be understated, or truly understood, by white America,” writes John Kass in the Chicago Tribune.
“But Obama is too smart to believe in sorcery, even as the scribes of the left (and even the right) gather about him, offering advice, preening for attention, inviting him to dinners where they touch the hem of his garment without invitation.
“Unlike some who raise expectations to manic heights, Obama has an extremely clear head. He's a rational man. He's not on Hopium. He's from Chicago.”
“The American people have put great faith in President Obama,” the New Hampshire Union-Leaderwrites. “Opinion polls suggest that a strong majority of Americans believe he will improve their lives within the next year. Though we are skeptical of the power of any President to bring about such rapid improvements in the lives of his countrymen, we wholeheartedly join the rest of the nation in wishing Obama a successful presidency. America needs to believe in its President, and itself, again.”
“Last week, as Washington hummed and hammered in preparation for today's inauguration, President-elect Barack Obama paid a low-key visit to his transition offices,” the Dallas Morning Newswrites. “As former Ronald Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan tells it: "Someone had given him a basketball; he dribbled it as he walked down the hall. Suddenly a young veteran of the campaign turned to another and said, 'The black guy with the basketball is the next president.' "
“The advent of the Obama era is not an epilogue on race; rather, it is an opportunity,” Andra Gillespie writes at Politico. “That a black man was able to become president is truly monumental; however, Obama’s impact on race relations comes not through his election, but through his governance.”
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