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“Look How Tall He’s Standing”

Hall of Fame Oklahoma journalist and broadcaster Dick Pryor of Norman recalls, below, attending the 2009 Presidential Inauguration of Barack Obama, America’s first black president.

My wife Lisa and I had never been moved to attend a presidential inauguration until Barack Obama was elected president. We inherently knew the inauguration of the nation’s first president of African American descent would transcend politics and be a once-in-a-lifetime moment that we, as Americans, had to experience first-hand.

American presidential inaugurations are displays of peaceful transition of power, but this one promised to be a defining moment in U.S. history. Across Washington, D.C, signs and mementoes promoted hope, change and the importance of this inspiring, young, mixed-race man becoming the 44th president. The message was inescapable. For many here, the vision of a more inclusive and perfect union clearly rested on his shoulders.

Walking the streets, we saw lightness and joy, and felt the presence of generations of people from all ethnic backgrounds whose collective dreams pointed toward this time. Total strangers hugged. Pressing heart to heart, each embrace we witnessed signaled that the struggle for dignity was easing as bonds of shared humanity formed, at last, in an expression of liberation and pride.