Sunday's concert on the Mall in Washington was about the most joyous public occasion I have ever witnessed. The tone of the entire event was happy and exciting, but in a peaceful, calm, secure way, not unlike Mr. Obama himself.
It was clear that the speakers and musicians were honored to be there, and even quite starstruck. President-elect Obama was remarkable: he projected such authenticity and seemed totally relaxed and in the moment. You would have thought he was a man just having a great time with his famiy on a Sunday afternoon, without anything else on his mind. If he can do this two days before he is sworn in as President I think we are dealing with a leader with a truly steady hand (not to mention a reliable capacity for pleasure and relaxation). Throughout the afternoon, the event was moving. Musical pieces were alternated with readings and vignettes about former presidents and historical events.
Something special was in the air. The performers and the audience, from the Obamas down to the smallest children at the farthest end of the Mall, seemed totally in sync on notes of respect for the past, wonder at the present, and hope for the future.
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