Today is the next step on the road to rebuilding our National character. At some point in time America has become a hated country. Despised by the bad guys and good guys alike. Even friendly Nations have looked at us with a semblance of disdain.
As a people we have become spoiled and lazy. I am reminded of Ben's assertions that whatever his infraction it is "not his fault." We have become finger-pointers.
President Barack Obama has ushered in, today, an era of accountability... Both for Washington and each and every American.
"Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends - hard work and honesty, 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. "
He has laid the foundation of his foreign policy.
"As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.
...We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you."
And one of my favorite images from his address:
"To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist."
I can't wait to sit with Ben tonight and rewatch all the TiVoed footage of this momentous day. I am so excited to watch him soak up the significance. I am greatful that he will grow up in this new direction - growing as one with all Americans and our Nation.