Last night the country witnessed the first ever neighborhood inaugural ball. Held in the nation's capital, it was the first time in the history of our country that anyone of us, as Americans, could attend an inaugural ball without an invitation.
Our new President, Barack Obama, and First Lady, Michelle Obama, wanted to invite the American people to join them as the entire country celebrates this historic election. It was the first of nine inaugural balls the Obamas would attend on inauguration day.
Upon the arrival of the President and First Lady, Beyonce serenaded them with the famous Etta James hit, At Last, as the First Couple enjoyed their first dance of the evening. It was truly a remarkable moment. One of the classiest moments that I can recall of any political celebration I have ever witnessed.
What made this ball so incredibly meaningful was that our new President and First Lady were using this event to express a deeply held value that propelled Barack Obama's campaign to victory: we are all interconnected.
By casting this event as a national "neighborhood" celebration, President Obama marked it as an opportunity to communicate the importance of diversity, inclusion, and community. Even though I sat in my family room hundreds of miles from this event, I felt like I was participating along with everyone who was there.
It is said that the heart has reasons that the mind can never know ...
Tears streamed down my cheeks as I witnessed the heartfelt expressions of respect and admiration for our new President and the First Lady ... for the values they embody and for the pride I felt to be a citizen of this country ... something I have not felt for many, many years.
Thank you Mr. President ... it's good to be back home.