Pete Kolbenschlag of Paonia attended his first inauguration on Monday, Jan. 21. "I was here last week with the group that came from the North Fork.
I was able to get a ticket from Sen. Udall's office, so I decided to stick around because I had never been to one. I thought it would be a piece of history to experience. It was pretty fun and interesting to be part of it."
Kolbenschlag was in the orange standing area which was about 150 yards from the Capitol steps. He watched on a Jumbotron as President Barack Obama gave his second inaugural speech.
Concerning President Obama's inaugural address Kolbenschlag said, "It outlined what I hope will be an ambitious second term. I was really glad the president mentioned the need for the nation to address climate change. He left that out of his speech four years ago, so I was really glad he put it in. I'm very concerned about that. I think we should be [concerned] in Colorado as we face prospects of increased drought and a drying climate."
President Obama said in his speech, "We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.
"Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms. The path toward sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition. We must lead it."
Kolbenschlag was also glad that the president wants to find a path forward on immigration and marriage equality. Kolbenschlag said, "I think [marriage equality] is an issue of fundamental fairness. I was impressed that he outlined all three of those things as important things as a nation to work on together. I thought it was ambitious and courageous for him to mention those three things because they are all touchy issues for some folks."
Regarding immigration, President Obama said, "Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity, until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country."
"President Obama talked about the opportunity in America for all to achieve greatness and not be held back. America is not to be a place that only rewards the few, but where we work together to build up the many," Kolbenschlag said. "I thought that was a good thing for him to talk about as well. I do believe America should be a land of opportunity."
The transcript from President Obama's inaugural address states, "America's possibilities are limitless, for we possess all the qualities that this world without boundaries demands: youth and drive, diversity and openness, of endless capacity for risk and a gift for reinvention.
"My fellow Americans, we are made for this moment and we will seize it, so long as we seize it together."
At another point, the president stated, "We are true to our creed when a little girl born into the bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anybody else because she is an American, she is free, and she is equal not just in the eyes of God but also in our own."
The inauguration took place on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. The President spoke about King in his address.
"We the people declare today that the most evident of truth that all of us are created equal — is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls and Selma and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth."
The President concluded, "My oath is not so different from the pledge we all make to the flag that waves above and that fills our hearts with pride. They are the words of citizens, and they represent our greatest hope. You and I, as citizens, have the power to set this country's course. You and I, as citizens, have the obligation to shape the debates of our time, not only with the votes we cast, but the voices we lift in defense of our most ancient values and enduring ideas."blog comments powered by Disqus