As Americans go about their day, they chortle, croon, and chatter. Conversations are constant. Hymns are hummed. People sing even when there is no tune. There is much said, and little heard. Cries may strike a chord; yet, these too may be perceived as silence. People talk. They wail; and no one listens to the lovely lyrics are sung.
Everyone is hurried. Most are worried. They fear the mundane that threatens their very existence. Moms, Dads, even teens who must help provide for the family anxiously ask, will I have a job tomorrow. Singles are not exempt. Children too are concerned for they feel the disquiet amidst the noise. The murmur that moves us might be summed up in a sentence. 'Will there be money in my pocket today?'
Society, it seems, is engaged in selfish pursuits. Personal survival is a more significant motivator than service. There is no harmony in the hullabaloo that surrounds us. The hum of reverence remains hidden.
The butcher, the baker, and the candlestick-maker move through the day with one song in mind. How might I provide food for the family, and find shelter from all the storms? What of schools for my children, and an education for myself? In the pandemonium, the only sound that echoes is a irksome song,
Most citizens of this country know not what will come. Nor do individuals recognize the love that was and is. Thus, they do as was done before them.
Just as their parents did, the tired, the hungry, the poor and downtrodden, talk of a secure future. They walk towards what they want, or try to. Heads are held high. People work in factories. They stitch finery. Some drive trucks or taxis. Others teach. Builders construct edifices that will be too expensive for them to occupy.
Countless serve . As they do so many deeds, they sing the customary song.
Farmers plant crops for a country starved for nourishment. Field-workers pick the harvest. Waiters and waitresses dish out the chow. Chefs cook. The rewards are paltry. The reality is stark. All have hope for a better day. Each looks out on the horizon.
Everyone strives to see the grass that certainly must be greener on the other side of the street.
Few realize that today was tomorrow. All that they have was given to them with thanks to yesterday. Ancestral devotion, dedication to the Seventh Generation has served society well..
The blood, sweat, and tears of persons who toiled in the past, gave birth to a nation that believes in love, liberty, and the light that everyone seeks. The truth is, the sound often muffled by expressions of personal misery were lovely songs.
Today, as citizens consider the crisis that has become common in American lives, they hope for change. No one noticed within the noise, was transformation. Fondness for a shared future originated a renaissance that, as a country, we celebrate today.
Collectively, we, the people have inaugurated a President that taught Americas, "Yes they can; Yes we can!" A Poet, Elizabeth Alexander, who stood on the stage with the nation's newly installed leader helped the country to understand, that no one man could, or would do what the populace had already done. In the name of love, on this very significant day, the American people could chant "Yes we have, and tomorrow we will again!"
Please peruse the poem, Praise Song for the Day. Ponder what the American people have accomplished. Imagine what we can achieve.
The following is a transcript of the inaugural poem recited by Elizabeth Alexander, as provided by CQ transcriptions.
Praise song for the day.
Each day we go about our business, walking past each other, catching each others' eyes or not, about to speak or speaking. All about us is noise. All about us is noise and bramble, thorn and din, each one of our ancestors on our tongues. Someone is stitching up a hem, darning a hole in a uniform, patching a tire, repairing the things in need of repair.
Someone is trying to make music somewhere with a pair of wooden spoons on an oil drum with cello, boom box, harmonica, voice.
A woman and her son wait for the bus.
A farmer considers the changing sky; A teacher says, "Take out your pencils. Begin."
We encounter each other in words, words spiny or smooth, whispered or declaimed; words to consider, reconsider.
We cross dirt roads and highways that mark the will of someone and then others who said, "I need to see what's on the other side; I know there's something better down the road."
We need to find a place where we are safe; We walk into that which we cannot yet see.
Say it plain, that many have died for this day. Sing the names of the dead who brought us here, who laid the train tracks, raised the bridges, picked the cotton and the lettuce, built brick by brick the glittering edifices they would then keep clean and work inside of.
Praise song for struggle; praise song for the day. Praise song for every hand-lettered sign; The figuring it out at kitchen tables.
Some live by "Love thy neighbor as thy self."
Others by first do no harm, or take no more than you need.
What if the mightiest word is love, love beyond marital, filial, national. Love that casts a widening pool of light. Love with no need to preempt grievance.
In today's sharp sparkle, this winter air, anything can be made, any sentence begun.
On the brink, on the brim, on the cusp -- praise song for walking forward in that light.
She said it! I never thought this day would come. Change has truly arrived in America, even before the Presidential Inauguration. Today, on Fox News, Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, the only person who could, the woman who for so long would not, stated, she is Open to the Prosecution of Bush Administration Officials. Oh joy! Oh, bliss. Never did I imagine this moment might become a reality. Even the idea that this could be a possibility eluded me. Today, on January 18, 2009, finally, I have hope. I believe in the future, as Michelle Obama expressed, "For the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country, or I will be when I see an actionable censure.
Democracy is in play. Politicians take their positions. The people ponder as powerbrokers decide. The stage is set. Tickets are for sale, but only for a select few. Thus is the scenario. Consider the scene. New Yorkers contemplate who might fill a probable vacant Senate seat. Should their representative, Hillary Rodham Clinton, be approved to serve, as Secretary of State, Governor David A. Patterson will appoint another to fill her chair. Therein lies the problem for many of the people in the Empire State. The Constitution allows a State's Chief Executive the authority to assign a seat to whom he, or she, thinks best. People, prominent and prestigious, such as Caroline Kennedy and Andrew M. Cuomo, vie for position, and constituents have no real say. She is the daughter of much beloved and laudable President, John Fitzgerald Kennedy. He is the son of the former nationally renowned Governor of the State, Mario Cuomo.
I am asking you to believe, not just in my ability to bring about a real change in Washington, I'm asking you to believe in yours. ~ Barack Obama
The invitation arrived in an electronic mail. As much as America wishes to be hopeful, I had none. I saw the communiqué and thought it would not be possible. I would never be selected to attend the inauguration. Of all the millions who are moved by this historic occasion, while I am amongst these, my anecdote is and would be far less remarkable. My personal reflection on the Obama election, would not be tragic. Nor would any thought I might muse of move a reader to say, "Yes. She should be seated at the swearing in ceremony."
Whatever I might communicate is certainly of little interest to most, if not all. Surely, the saga of a grandson, or grand-daughter, of a slave, one who worked as their ancestors had, might mesmerize more, or at least a legend such as this would enthrall me. Indeed, it did. Only yesterday, I saw and heard a film essay on James "Little Man" Presley. This steady man in Mississippi began his career when he was six [6.] On camera, this glorious gent recounted his reality of fifty years of work in the cotton fields. He shared his sorrow; as a Black man, he was barred from restaurants and royalties that might be awarded to a white man. "Little Man" Presley also presented his pleasure.
I have a dream. I dream of a day when Americans will separate themselves from a difficult past. I dream of a time when partisan politics will not divide us. In my dream, I see a nation united; one in which Black children, white, Brown, yellow, and red offspring, people of any race, color, or creed will rise above their own imagined limits. It is more than my hope, it is my vision that together, we as a nation can give birth to what others think unbelievable. I have faith that my fellow man and I can give birth to what was not thought possible.
We can restore what was once good, and build what will be better. Old habits need not challenge us. These can be the catalyst for deep and authentic change. We need only begin.
It is the seventh day of the month, a date that now lives in infamy. On this occasion, she passed. She was killed by an attack that was all too sudden. Her physical presence on Earth did not end in the month of December. The year was not 1941. The events at Pearl Harbor did cause my Mom's heart to stop. Indeed, she only ceased to exist in a form that I can see with my eyes or touch with my hand, less than a decade ago. Truly, it feels as if Mommy just took her leave.
In every moment, she is still with me. All these years later, I mourn my loss. Oh, if only I could bring her back. She enters into my dreams almost daily. Since childhood, I knew, if she were gone, I might not be able to go on. Today, on the anniversary of her bodily discorporation, I mourn, as I trust she would, the casualties in Iraq, Afghanistan, Gaza, Israel, and anywhere that war delays, defers, or denies family time, space, and a proper setting in which to grieve.
Just days ago, throughout the globe, people celebrated religious holidays. Peace on Earth and good will to all men was the palpable feeling that filled the air. Everywhere anyone turned expressions of fondness for our fellow beings could be heard. People were filled with glee. Then, suddenly, the sound that is the silent hum of joyous laughter was broken. Everything changed. Yet, indeed nothing did. The cycle of violence that has perpetually existed on this planet began again. The qualified quest for justice was once more the people's agenda. In Israel and Gaza, bombs blasted. Bullets whizzed by the heads of frantic, frightened people who sought shelter from another Mediterranean storm. Some died. Hamas was blamed for the initial attacks, this time. As had occurred on other occasions, Israel, in the name of self-defense, fought back. The roles might have been reversed and have been.
I did not know of him or of his condition until today. When he first approached me, he assured me, I did not need to assist him. He was well taken care of. kwickkick wanted to help me help myself. Indeed, he hoped to lend a hand to all who reside in America. He had only his story, a reminder of what is most important to a person when they learn they are about to pass. Kwickkick offered his plea, to you, and to me, and asked us to ponder.
As he shared, I thought of how the compassionate chap, kwickkick could have been me. However, he did not know of my situation. As I said, we had just met. The 34-year-old man, who discovered just hours earlier, he has but little time to live, is a contract employee in the sales division at software company. He is as many skilled workers in the United States. kwickkick is one of the forty-five, or more, millions of Americans without health insurance. Too many of whom understand that the lack of medical coverage is a death sentence waiting to happen. For kwickkick, the decree has been delivered. It was as he expected and thus he penned, I'm Dying. [Please click on the his statement to read his tale which appears just below.]
Come 2009, I will commence on a new path. I will exercise regularly, smoke not at all. A healthy diet will become my regime. On Monday, January 5, my life mission will be realized in my work. The opportunity to inaugurate again, to give birth to me at my best will inspire a rejuvenation. Today, I resolve to . . . not make a single New Years resolution. In truth, I never have committed to change. Yet, the person you see before you is not the same being that might have appeared on any other day, of any other year. I have evolved, and so do we all.
She said, "If one is to pass, it will have to be my sister." Jennifer would not allow a baby to die. Although the newborn had yet to take a single breath, and was still safely tucked away in her mother's belly, Jenn decided the infant must live. Had she been an employee of one of more than 584,000 health-care organizations her word would have been considered a "right of conscience." Jenn would not be held responsible if she refused to treat the soon-to-be Mom who was also her sibling.