By Alicia Lacy

Killeen Daily Herald

Jan. 20, 2009, a date that will be remembered years from now. Tuesday was a day history was made, not for black people, white people, Asian people, Hispanic people or even Americans, but for anyone who has ever dreamed, hoped or believed that anything is possible.

Tuesday was the day the first black American was sworn in as president of the United States. Tuesday was the day that the leader of the free world actually represented the world, a rainbow of colors, races and a variation of ideals and beliefs.

A mix of people made the epic, momentous day possible because President Barack Obama was elected by voters across color lines, political lines and class lines who all shared one interest – the need for change.

On Nov. 4, in the midst of an economic crisis and a war in Iraq, a sense of unity was created by Americans.

When examined under a microscope, America is far from equal. But more than 100 years after slavery was abolished and decades after Jim Crow laws were in effect to degrade and belittle blacks, the moment Chief Justice John Roberts said, "Congratulations, Mr. President," Americans could be proud that a huge leap was taken forward toward change and racial equality.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream was realized on Nov. 4, and Obama was not judged by the color of his skin, but rather by the content of his character.

I'm sure Rosa Parks didn't know when she refused to give up her seat on a bus in Alabama that her action would change the course of American history and the civil rights movement. I'm sure King didn't know his dream would become the dream of millions, and King didn't know that because of his determination and efforts, we would one day have a black president.

When Obama made the decision to run for president, he did not know he made a decision and accomplished a feat that will be remembered forever.

Although I was not alive during the struggles of blacks as they worked for unity, I know they are the struggles of my father and his father and so on. I understand their struggles, and because of their sacrifices, my peers and I can do things people never thought possible.

After Justice Roberts' statement, emotions overtook the crowd, as the eyes of those in the National Mall began to fill with tears. In that very moment, we realized that when we want something, we can have it; when we work to touch the sky and aim for the impossible, it can be achieved.

"This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed – why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent Mall, and why a man whose father less than 60 years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

"So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled," Obama said in his inaugural address.

Despite the millions of people at the ceremony, it was a peaceful event filled with positive energy. The cold weather and the long wait did not agitate people. There weren't riots or disgruntled people, but rather many individuals who came together to witness history and share the common thread of change and unity.

However, because this feat has been reached doesn't mean everything in the world is right. Obama still has work to do.

Contact Alicia Lacy at or (254) 501-7476.

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