I was moved by Barack Obama’s invocation of the social progress we have made in a lifetime — as he put it, “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.”
Obama’s inauguration speech also called upon Americans to return to the inspirational examples of our forebears acting in service to others (to their friends, their communities, the generations to follow):
“As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages. We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment – a moment that will define a generation – it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.
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. 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. It is the firefighter’s courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent’s willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.
Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends – honesty and hard work, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism – these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths.
What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility – a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.”
Husband and wife Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher called on their Hollywood friends to pledge what THEY were doing or planning on doing to make the world better and ask you to do the same. Is this the same Ashton Kutcher of Punk’d fame, or did he have a conversion experience? It’s a moving video nonetheless and let’s hear it for second lives. [You can also play ‘name that celebrity….’