More Inauguration Observations
From Ann Veneman, former head of the California Department of Food & Agriculture, the United States Department of Agriculture and now executive director of UNICEF:
I am so sorry to be slow in responding. I have been buried the last couple of days as I just got back from Africa on Sunday. Interestingly, I was able to go to Zimbabwe — the first head of a UN agency to be allowed in for over two years.
I was struck by the notices in the newspapers in South Africa announcing parties to watch and celebrate the inauguration of our President. People everywhere felt a part of this election. Yesterday was an inauguration not just of a new President of this country but of a new leader for the world.
The speech was inspirational and set a course for the future of America. But it also recognized the critical role of the United States around the globe and the importance of helping those most vulnerable.
From Barbara O’Connor, Director, the Institute for the Study of Politics and Media at California State University Sacramento:
The speech was fine. The delivery was excellent. It was somber, not soaring. Some really good lines. The “We will reach out for your hand if you unclench your fist” summarized the tone of the day. The size of government line was splendid.
The real message of the day was the tone of all the people. Despite the cold, the long walking and the hardships of the logistics, everyone reached out to one another. Class, race, age, nationality didn’t matter. I made so many friends everywhere. They watched out for each other, were polite and cheerful and there was no crime today in the mass of millions.
Everywhere you went there was joy and people who were kind and caring. Two homeless men helped me get across police barriers. Two celebrities and a powerful CEO helped an elderly woman when she fell. It was the best of America in every way.
I am exhausted, very cold and need to sleep. It is way past my bedtime. And I feel more hopeful than I have felt in a long time. It will stay with me for a long time. I am certainly glad I was here. Signing off and going to sleep.
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