One Small Act Can Change the Course of A Nation
February 18, 2010
FORT LEE, Va. (Feb. 18, 2010) - I had the most incredible few days of my life in August of 2008. I'm notsure how I can ever personally top being chosen as one of 10 private citizens to take part in the Democratic National Convention in Denver and have the chance to meet and talk to our current president, Barack Obama. The experience was so great; to be around so many ordinary men and women - students and military, rich people, poor people, middle class, black, white, Hispanic, everything
There were famous and almost famous people there too, all together
in one place in search of the same thing: leadership.
Obama's nomination acceptance speech was a historical event, not just because he was the first African American to accept a major political party's nomination for the presidency of the United States, or that it was 45 years to the day that Dr Martin L. King Jr. delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech at the March on Washington. It was historical because more than 85,000 people in the stands of Denver's Invesco Field and millions more watching at home were united in one voice.
Any racial division that once hampered those people gathered in Denver were
dissolved in a showing of unity of hope for a better America. Never before in the history of the United States had anyone transcended race and color in that manner. I learned a lot from that event and our commander in chief's leadership, judgment and his willingness to sacrifice personal interest for the benefit of many.
These are the principles that powered the Civil Rights Movement and that we need to renew in all communities.
President Obama, with all his great enthusiasm, education, experience, knowledge and motivation, is but one man. I believe that he has brought that spark of hope that has been lost for so long. But there comes a point when we have to do our part to help him to keep it going.
In keeping with the spirit of Dr. King and President Obama, we have to do our parts by keeping our minds opened to the differences in us that make us better together, as opposed to focusing on the differences that separate us.
If every man and woman took one step toward doing one thing to better relations amongst us all, imagine how much better our country could be' Change can start with one person or event. There is definitely power among the few.
Too many times we don't quite get the necessity of change, and there is a resistance to change by many. I believe it's fear of the unknown or fear of something different.
My cousin and fellow Army veteran, Elizabeth Eckford, was one of the "Little Rock Nine" who on September 4, 1957 was one of the first to integrate public schools in Little Rock, Ark. That event changed the course of history in America. Watching old footage of them entering the school, I can't imagine how scared those nine children must have been going up against what probably seemed like the world. They soldiered on bravely, and the nine of them together altered the course of U.S. history.
Those very brave nine children stood up to an angry and fearful America and played an important role in the end of segregation.
President Obama said it so eloquently, "we rise and fall as one nation." Like my brave cousin Elizabeth, you never know when one small act will change your life and the course of this nation.