“I think it’s going to be a very memorable event. It’s going to be one of those things that people will talk about for years,” said RHS teacher Steve Hitchcock.
He’s talking about the inauguration of the first black president, which will take place on Jan. 20 when Barack Obama is sworn into office. The official changeover will take place at noon. Obama will informally meet with President George W. Bush at the White House, and they will ride together to the ceremony. According to Hitchcock, the ceremony only lasts a few minutes. The president is sworn in by the Chief Justice of the United States, and then Obama gives his inaugural address, which generally lasts about 30 to 40 minutes.
After the ceremony, President Bush will borrow the Air Force One from Obama, who then has privileges to use the aircraft. Bush will fly to Dallas on his last flight on the plane that serves the president. Bush will then live in a gated community and will be protected by Secret Service agents for the rest of his life. He will probably go on to write books and give speeches and set up his own presidential library, Hitchcock said.
In related news, an important man in America has his holiday this month. Martin Luther King, Jr., had a dream, and to some it may finally come true on Jan. 20. His dream was for racial equality, and with the election of a black president, that dream may finally have come true.
“To a degree, you don’t want to underestimate, but you don’t want to overestimate either,” Hitchcock said of the importance of a black president. “There is still racism in the U.S.”
Hitchcock recalls learning about King in current events in school. King had a huge impact on America and changed the lives of many people.
RHS teacher Gary Mann added that he remembers the resistance people had to King’s ideas.
“He was an instrument of change for the African American, and it needed to be done,” Mann said. “There were a lot of problems. People were angry, and angry at him.”
According to Mann, to this generation Obama is a milestone to this nation for change.
– Lisa Thompson is a senior at RHS
and a member of the Chariot newspaper staff.