American pride

by Jourdan Fairchild in

Four years ago today, at this exact hour, my parents and I huddled together on the lawn surrounding the Washington Monument as we witnessed President Obama get sworn into office. It didn't matter that our feet were completely frozen or that we'd been misdirected in the shuffle of the crowds on the way to the parade. We were witnessing history unfold, and I'll never, ever forget that feeling. Regardless of party affiliations, the mood of the crowd was one of hope—hope for Americans of all race, ethnicity, or religion. And as I stood next to my parents, both raised in Southern households with black women as their "help," we all reflected on the monumental changes that have occurred between a single generation. By the time my children are my age, I can only imagine what freedoms and opportunities will exist for them. Today, in particular, I think of my brother, who's working in Afghanistan for the next six months. This is the fourth time he's left his family to help protect our country and our citizens. I think he'd agree that we still have a long way to go, but he'd also agree with this MLK Jr quote: "Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can't ride you unless your back is bent."  Here are just a few snapshots from that life-changing experience (my friends Ri and Lauren were there, too): 

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