Tuesday, January 22, 2013
The date on the calendar, January 21, 2013, is a date that I will cherish as long as I live. It's a date that I'm happy to say that I got to see in my lifetime because the events of this day in the form of celebration will be a lifetime memory. The Martin Luther King National Holiday, celebrating the great civil rights leader and the second inauguration of President Barack Obama occured on the same day. There has been a long road for both, starting with the MLK Jr. National Holiday, an event long in the making until it was first observed on January 20, 1986. The first MLK Jr. holiday observance is one event in life I remember all too well. I was on duty as an intern for the Atlanta newspapers, working alongside their staff photographers at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, the King family church as we all know it, adjacent to the Martin Luther King Center for social change, one of my favorite landmarks since I'd gotten to Atlanta four years before. That was quite the experience, the one that touched me in so many ways, one of which was to hear the speech of Senator Edward M. Kennedy make his speech. Ted Kennedy comes from the family that holds a place in history that I admire most, all that despite the long list of personal tragedy that they have to go along with them. I recall fondly Senator Kennedy refering that day as a "Happy Anniversary for the Kennedy family because 25 years ago today John Fitzgerald Kennedy was sworn in as President of the United States, and in his inaugural address my brother spoke of a torch that had been passed to a new generation of Americans and today another torch has been passed to a new event in this country that has been long in the making." Barack Obama is a name that has taken the torch that has been passed to him, the first President of the United States of a minority ethnic background and the first member of my own generation--also born under the Kennedy Administration to hold the highest office. His first election in 2008 and reelection in 2012 put him in a place to beat the odds against him and take a place in history that will be all his own. Oh yes, I could write a book on a topic like this but I can easily just keep it down to one blog post and take it from there. President Obama's unprecidented second term has only just begun and I look forward to the time that's waiting just ahead, all the way to another great place in history.