Emotions ran high watching the inauguration. (Andrew Bennett)
If it wasn’t for Martin Luther King Jr. and his view of the world of action, President Barack Obama might never have realized the importance of serving the people and the meaning of equality.
Obama, who often quotes King by saying “Everybody can be great because everybody can serve,” was inaugurated Jan. 20 and Saddleback College students watched and listened as the event was available on big screens and small televisions throughout campus.
“I was excited to witness this historic moment,” said Sean Timossi, 22, business administration. “Our first black president brings a lot of optimism, as well as questions to mind, but mostly interest for what is to come.
It was all part of a special day of celebration sponsored by the Saddleback Democratic Club, and it was intended to honor not only the first African-American President, but the memory of King. The club organized a viewing of the swearing in ceremonies of the 44th President. It took place in the Student Services Center’s multipurpose room. A photo exhibit of the Civil Rights movement depicted powerful images of segregation, protest and President Lyndon B. Johnson signing the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
“Watching this exhibit before the inauguration, made me think that at the core of our country is the drive towards freedom through representation,” said Hadrien Curs, 20, accounting. “And, that’s where our national and global strength comes from.”
Obama’s presidential acceptance often evoked symbolic references that King orated in his “Dream” speech. King expressed his desire to “speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing.”
Obama represented a new opinion that, “We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus — and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.”
“The speech was great,” said J. Stebbins, 21, environmental science. “There is a lot more to do and now it is time to see the action.”
Some 46 years after King’s slogan “I have a dream” entered the minds of the masses, Obama retorted, “Yes we can”.