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Witnessing History, an essay by Sean Tighe

Online Extra! Witnessing History, an essay by Sean Tighe The Union-Recorder Witnessing History By Sean Tighe GMC Prep student Only a few days ago, I had the opportunity of a lifetime. I was surrounded by nearly 2 million of my closest friends witnessing an event that occurs every four years. It was not the Olympics, the World Cup, or Feb. 29; it was the Presidential Inauguration of Barack Obama. Every four years, Jan. 20 is a day that America exemplifies its democratic form of government through a peaceful transfer of power. It is always a historic occasion in which the nation is presented its new leader in a simple yet moving ceremony. This inauguration, however, would be different from the other 54 in America’s history. America would have its first African-American president. Standing on the National Mall, there was a feeling of anticipation. Everyone was waiting for the swearing-in ceremony to begin. With each passing second, history was creeping closer. Finally, after hours in the freezing cold, the man of the hour came up to the podium. Everyone on the Mall cheered and furiously waved their American flags. At that moment, I realized that history was about to occur. President-elect Obama placed his left hand on Abraham Lincoln’s Bible, lifted his right hand, and recited the Presidential Oath of Office. Once he lowered his right hand, he was no longer the President-elect; he was now President Obama. In the nation’s capitol, nearly 2 million people erupted into joy. The atmosphere was incredibly emotional, as everyone on the National Mall once again broke out into a flag-waving frenzy. The United States opened a new chapter in its history with Barack Obama holding the torch and leading the way. Hundreds of years from now, Jan. 20, 2009, will be regarded as a momentous day in American history, and I will be able to say that, “I was there.”