Youth Inspires Us during the Inauguration

On this day, January 20, 2021, we witnessed the inauguration of Joseph R. Biden, Jr. as the 46th president of the United States of America.

We also witnessed the youngest inaugural poet read her poem commemorating the day and its place in history. Her name is Amanda Gorman. She is 22 years old and a resident of Los Angeles, California. She was raised by a single mother, and she did honor to both her mother and to her country with the words she spoke during the inauguration. It was an inauguration that grew out of the ashes of a failed insurrection fueled by misinformation that was believed by passionate people.

Amanda Gorman’s accomplishment can be an inspiration to all young people who hope to help our country move forward in peace, harmony and healing.

In her poem, she wrote, “And so we lift our gazes, not to what stands between us, but what stands before us. We close the divide, because we know to put our future first, we must first put our differences aside. We lay down our arms so we can reach out our arms to one another. We seek harm to none and harmony for all.”

Many of us, children and adults alike, have watched the events of the last few weeks unfold on television. We have seen the challenges that face our country. We have felt the pain of division, the fear that unity is a fading hope.

Amanda restores our hope with her words: “We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation rather than share it, would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy. And this effort very nearly succeeded. But while democracy can be periodically delayed, it can never be permanently defeated.”

She went on, “In this truth, in this faith, we trust, for while we have our eyes on the future, history has its eyes on us. This is the era of just redemption we feared at its inception.”

“We did not feel prepared to be the heirs of such a terrifying hour,” she continued, “but within it we found the power to author a new chapter, to offer hope and laughter to ourselves. So while once we asked, ‘How could we possibly prevail over catastrophe?’ now we assert, “How could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?’”

She rallied us with her affirmation that our country, though bruised, will move forward “fierce and free.” The next generation will be burdened by our blunders, she said, but “if we merge mercy with might and might with right, then love becomes our legacy in change, our children’s birthright.”

Every child and young person today has it within them to make a positive difference, not in exactly the same way Amanda Gorman did today. But in their own way they can help to move us all forward in healing ways full of hope.

As a young person, if you ever feel that what you have to offer is not appreciated, remember
what Amanda Gorman did today. Remember that the wisdom and harmony you have to offer is
worth so much. Many people long for those things. Never ever give up on sharing your talents and your insights.

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