Inauguration celebrates freedom
There is only one force of history that can break the reign of hatred and resentment, and expose the pretensions of tyrants, and reward the hopes of the decent and tolerant, and that is the force of human freedom.
– President George W. Bush
Inaugural Address, Jan. 20, 2005
The stage on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol was in place and decorated, the flags were blowing in the breeze, and buildings throughout downtown Washington, D.C., were decorated with banners and celebratory slogans. Mother Nature had even provided the city with a blanket of fresh snow, adding a beautiful but cold touch to the festivities of the day.
The second inaugural of President George W. Bush was a very special event, full of pomp and grandeur and strong shows of gratitude to the men and women of our armed forces. The nearly 500,000 men, women, and children who traveled to our nation;s capital to join in the festivities were treated to a grand spectacle stretching from the Capitol grounds and up Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House.
I was honored to see many old friends from south Alabama who made the trek north, and I was just as honored to make many new friends in the days leading up to Jan. 20. As special as historic moments such as this are to me, they are made even more special when shared with many of the constituents I am honored to serve in the House of Representatives.
I was also proud that, as a father and husband, my two children and my wife were able to join me for this occasion. While my son and daughter are still too young to fully appreciate what they witnessed on the steps of the Capitol, I am glad they witnessed an event of such significance and will be able to share the story with their own friends and families in the future.
Perhaps more important than the events surrounding the day were the words spoken by the president during the noontime ceremony. During a remarkable speech that was both reflective of the past and indicative of a vision for the future, President Bush delivered a 21-minute talk which will undoubtedly rank among the best inaugural speeches of all time.
The president continues to recognize the importance of the United States on the world stage. The decisions he has made since the beginning of his first term in 2001 have reflected his commitment to both protecting Americans and our interests here at home while at the same time encouraging the growth and strengthening of democracies around the globe.
President Bush's inaugural speech reflected these beliefs. In fact, a large majority of his remarks were a reiteration of our national belief that the United States is indeed the beacon of hope and liberty for the world. He said, "We will consistently clarify the choice before every ruler and every nation: The moral choice between oppression, which is always wrong, and freedom, which is eternally right. America will not pretend that jailed dissidents prefer their chains, or that women welcome humiliation and servitude, or that any human being aspires to live at the mercy of bullies."
The challenges facing this administration over the next four years are no less significant than those of the past few years. The world has changed significantly since this former governor of Texas took his first oath of office on the steps of the U.S. Capitol, but his determination has not wavered.
True, the president will continue to have his critics and those who denigrate many of his policy decisions. Those individuals certainly made their presence felt throughout Washington last week