From all corners of the globe this week people came together to celebrate much more than a man. They came together to embrace a new ideal of how we can all work together to create a more perfect union.
While it goes without saying that I, like many around the world, was caught up in the inauguration of the first black president in our nation's history, there was a story this week that went largely unnoticed. Though the pomp and circumstance of Tuesday's swearing-in was truly breathtaking, what I will actually leave here remembering most is Monday, the day before the swearing-in.
Fittingly, on Martin Luther King Jr. day, rather than simply reflecting on the moment, President Obama called on all of us to make this a day of action. Not to simply enjoy change, but to go make it ourselves.
I watched as high school students from across the nation joined together at the National Armory to fill bags of food for the needy. I saw people looking to extend a hand in giving, not asking. For this one day, we weren't 50 states; we were truly the United States.
As President Obama noted, our generation faces challenges that may be unprecedented. These problems will not be faced alone, nor will they be conquered without shared sacrifice.
Whether your contribution to society is big or small, tangible or a gift of the heart, each one of us must now take it upon ourselves to be responsible for all of us.
As I return to Chicago I can hardly contain my joy and my optimism.
I hope that you are similarly inspired.
I would love it if some of you would join me in telling what this week has meant to you.