The last post I wrote was published on January 5th, the day before the Capitol was stormed by an angry mob. It has been a long couple of weeks.
Tomorrow is a landmark moment in our nation’s history: the election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to the offices of President and Vice President. Kamala will be the first woman elected Vice President.
We have also reached 400,000 dead from COVID 19. Today, 400 illuminated columns were installed along the sides of the reflecting pool in honor of those who died.
The past year has been harder for America than words can express. We are tired of being inside, being alone, being without the people we love, and we cannot see the end of this dark path. But just because you can’t see something doesn’t mean it’s not there.
As Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce said on October 5th, 1877, “Our hearts are sick and sad.” Tonight we remember our family, the ones who were with us not long ago, and the ones who are fighting the virus as we speak.
It has never been easy for Americans. We have never had our freedoms handed to us on a silver platter, we had to fight for them. It’s been 225 years since the document that founded our country, the Declaration of Independence, was created, and we have never stopped fighting since then.
We were barefoot soldiers in the snow, fighting the most powerful army in the world for the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Then we were statesmen, arguing over the way to build a country. We were creating new rules to a very old game, reinventing the world order. After America, the world was never the same.
Then, we were settlers, pushing west, ever west, desperate to exercise our freedoms, unconscious of the people we were hurting.
And then we were soldiers. The Civil War was the worst that America has ever faced, but it once again changed history. Before the war, we were all separate states. People used to say “the United States are.” It was only after the war that people started to say “The United States is.”
After that we were a new generation, moving forward into a new century, determined to put the past behind us and move forward into a bright new future.
Then we were survivors, helping each other along, working together to pick up the pieces of our lives blown apart by the Great Depression.
Then we were once again soldiers, this time fighting for the rest of the world, so that they might become democratic nations as well. We were the Greatest Generation, the brave men and women who fought tooth and nail to help people who were different from them.
Then, we were dreamers, looking to the stars, and thinking about how to get there.
We’ve always been dreamers, ever since the beginning. We have dared to look through the fog of difficulty to the shining future beyond. We’ve always been soldiers, fighting for our beliefs. Fighting doesn’t have to look like war. It can look like a force for change, like a parade down Pennsylvania Avenue for the right to vote, or joining hands and walking across a bridge when the people on the other side want to hurt you.
It can look like voting. It can look like wearing a mask.
Today, President-Elect Biden said a simple sentence. I think it showed what strong people Americans can be. He said this:
“To heal is to remember.”
Five words. Five words can be all it takes to bring a country together. Five words can be all it takes to rally a nation of fighters.
We have to remember. Remember where we came from, remember who has come before, and remember just how strong we can really be.
This is why I believe that we will make it out of this darkness. WE ARE STRONG. WE CAN ENDURE.
We have two hundred and twenty five years of ancestors who are rooting for us, wherever they are, and two hundred and twenty five years of practice in standing up for what we believe in. We can do this.
America will endure.
“But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and provide new Guards for their future security.”
– Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of Independence
Those who have the ability to take action have the responsibility to take action. You have the ability to take action. You have the responsibility to take action. Take action.