President Obama asks for sacrifice

January 20, 2009 7:05:11 PM PST
President Obama spoke of the need for sacrifice by all Americans. That message was heard and understood by many watching the inauguration together in San Francisco on Tuesday.

At the Bayview Opera House they watched the inaugural events all day long. The opera house was built in 1888 and has become a community center.

It took place on the other side of this continent, but in a world growing smaller, Barack Obama's inauguration was a shared experience, even at Civic Center Plaza in San Francisco.

"It's an exciting moment. My heart couldn't get any bigger," said Shelly Handler, an Obama supporter.

Handler did not expect surprises from the day's speech, just eloquence at one of the more difficult times in America's recent history.

"What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility, a recognition on the part of every American that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world," said President Obama.

It has been a while since Americans contemplated sacrifice, but the president laid out the need to a people facing uncertainties from a slowing economy and unemployment. Americans, and the world, face energy challenges and climate woes. For modern times, these are dark and challenging ones; for modern times, these are dark and challenging ones.

"I think the rest of the country is in a middle class comfort zone and we need to get out of it," said Christopher Wylie, who is retired.

"Us, you, me, us. All of us. All of the American citizens who live here, we have to make sacrifices so this thing will get better for us," said Ancel Martinez, an Obama supporter.

So as the nation put its troubles on Barack Obama, he gave them right back. It seemed fitting that, on the day of his inauguration, America's 44th president quoted the first, George Washington, from another trying time.

"Let it be told to the future world that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive, that the city and country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet it," said President Obama.

They were only words, but history shows we should never underestimate them.

"I am a closet optimist. I have been all my life. And frankly, it's nice to be able to show it," said Handler.

So, now comes the hard part, there will be a lot of work to do.