by Melinda Gallo

The time has come

I have been looking forward to Tuesday for quite a while. I heard that there might be a few celebrations in town, but I knew that I wanted to watch Barack H. Obama's inauguration alone. I turned on CNN early in the day to watch the countdown to the inauguration. I have only watched CNN once since I've moved to Florence and that was to follow the election results last year. I don't remember ever being this excited about watching the inauguration of our new US President. While I watched the Mall fill up with millions of people, I felt a great desire to be in the US.

I didn't even sit down on the couch, but on the coffee table to watch the inauguration. I was amazed at the number of people, and how excited and joyful everyone was. Tears began to well up in my eyes when I saw Joe Biden. I couldn't believe that this was really happening. These last four years have seemed gloomy to me. Hope seemed to have disappeared, and each day brought bad news.

The church bells rang at 6PM, which was noon Eastern time, the hour at which I learned that Obama became President of the US even though he hadn't yet taken the oath yet. The streets outside our apartment seemed quiet to me, but I smiled at knowing that hope had won over fear. The church bells were just a cheery way to welcome Obama.

When Obama took his oath, I stood up in front of the TV alone with tears streaming down my face. I listened intently to Obama's speech that seemed to touch my heart like no other leader in my life has ever done.

I feel a deep sense of hope for my motherland and the world like I have never had before. Even many of my Italian friends expressed how hopeful they now feel that Obama is the President of the US. I'm just happy that I can have hope for the future instead of gloom for the world's situation. Obama ushered in his presidency with hope, and may each day for the next four years inspire us to become better human beings and change for the better. Maybe we can truly live in a peaceful and prosperous world.

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