Tuesday marks a new beginning

Unity.

      

Set aside old dogmas and prejudices.

      

Work together for the common good.

      

Don’t expect government to be the solution to every problem. Each one of us must help solve the problems we face in these difficult times.

      

These were key themes of President Barack Obama’s Inauguration Day speech. His words challenged all of us. He spoke of his faith in the American people. He spoke of the sacrifices of our forebears. He spoke of his confidence that Americans can come together to overcome the obstacles we face.

      

His words set just the right tone for the American people.

      

His words were inspirational yet somber, which is fitting for a time when we’re at war abroad and in economic trouble at home.

      

The people who thronged The Mall in Washington D.C., along with those who went to thousands of other venues around the United States, were an enthusiastic group.

      

All are hoping for better days ahead.

      

We particularly appreciate that Obama stressed that government cannot fix all of our problems.

      

“For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies,” he said. “It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours.”

      

His message was not just to Americans. A presidential inauguration speech is heard and scrutinized around the world.

      

America’s new president made it clear, on the one hand, that this nation intends to be a friend and inspiration to the nations of the world and its leaders. On the other hand, he made it clear he intends to defend America against its enemies and defeat them.

      

We also appreciated Obama’s tone of unity and reconciliation — and the fact that he stressed accountability. We like the sound of that.

      

Now, more than ever, our congressional leaders must work across the aisle, forget about partisan advantage and show us they can work for the good of the nation, not just for the advantage of their respective parties.

      

Tuesday marked a new beginning for the nation as the reins of leadership were handed, peacefully and graciously, to a new president.

      

This historic event showcased for the world what makes America great.

      

Let us build on that greatness and go forward together, never forgetting the precious responsibility we share as Americans.

 

 

— KALAMAZOO GAZETTE