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On The Mall: Out Of Many, One

Please join me at 3:30 p.m. today for a special edition of "Potomac Confidential," as we talk about today's events, the Inaugural Address, the scene on the Mall and around the city, and your experiences of the day.

Out of many, one:

"My grandma never thought she'd see this day. (Rachel Beistel, Pittsburgh)

My father never thought he'd see this day. (Ave Talbott, Alexandria)

My mother-in-law never thought she'd see this day. (Gary Doring, Oakland)

My father passed in '93 and in his last years, he said that one day there would be a -- his words -- 'Negro president.' So I am here for him. (Melinda Cade, Kansas City, Kan.)

My dad said, 'No, this country's too racist, they'll never elect him.' (Sarah Beistel, Pittsburgh)

My mom said, 'I don't care about Christmas -- come for the inauguration.' (Penny Herscovitch, Los Angeles)

My wife said to me, 'If you could have been there for the 'I Have a Dream' speech, would you have gone?' And I said, 'OK, let's go.' (Gerald Willoughby, Boston)

You're out with everyone, hugging, laughing -- you can't get that at home. We're all here for the same purpose. (Catina Thomas, Chicago)

My parents have this picture from when I was 6, when Kennedy was elected, of me standing in front of the TV with an American flag because they felt there was this possibility, this change. Today, seeing so many white males with Obama pictures and pins, it's really a shift. (Susan Allen, Boston)

Does one man really make a difference? No, one man can only do so much. He's picked good people, but he's not going to save the world. People expect the world to go a whole 180, but what if it doesn't? Are they going to blame his race? My parents came here from Bangladesh, and they were very shocked that he won. They grew up thinking that unless you were white, you don't get anything here. (Aziz Ahmed, Alexandria)

Right after 9/11, we had this big brotherhood that went on for a few weeks. It felt real good, and I'm hoping we can sustain it this time. In this country, we want success, and we want it yesterday. People will give him his first week to make an impression. (Gerald Willoughby, Boston)

He's honest; he listens so well; he's himself. (Judy Barber, Ottawa, Ontario)

To understand Barack, you have to know Hawaii. Every move of his is Hawaii, just like when you read a novel and you know it's a Brooklyn boy who wrote it, from the phrasing and the outlook. That coolness -- Barack's grandfather took him to the jazz clubs in Chinatown in Honolulu as a kid. (Gloria Borland, Hawaii)

You see it right away, the qualities of a Kenyan. His firmness reminds me of the people back home who, when they say, 'We want,' they get. And his humbleness -- our people are very humble. (Alice Mukabane, Kenya)

He's a Chicago politician, don't forget that. He looks all calm and academic, but he had to be a street fighter to get here. (Dan Lucas, Chicago)

He's so American, so very authentic and individual, but also so African, that sense of community. He's sort of a clean slate that you write on what you want him to be. (Stephen Woollcombe, Ottawa, Ontario)

Obama posters and Obama wristbands -- God, it's almost like Christmas, so commercialized. But they can't ruin the spirit. (Ellen Stiles, New York)

About 10 of us are staying in a one-bedroom apartment. Our parents come from countries with coup d'etats, military rule. For the whole world, it's seeing that anyone can be chosen by the people to lead. (Jeesham Chowdhury, Oxford, England)

I've been a black man in America all my life, and this fills me with hope. It makes me think about my two sons and their possibilities. (Gerald Willoughby, Boston)

I always thought there was this line you couldn't cross, and he's shown us the line isn't there anymore. (Kimberlee Coleman Henderson, Atlanta)

Both races will begin to see that all the stigmas that were put on us in the past, they just had no basis. (Leslie Talbott, Louisville)

Our country's going to be a better place. It's finally going to be government by the people. (Karen Evans, Clifton, Va.)

I'm just really happy, and I hope nothing happens to him. (Meghan Hewitt, New Haven, Conn.)

People are praying for him like never before, every day. (Julianne Adams, Atlanta)

If anything happened to him, we'd be all right, because he's already changed us, shown us what we really are -- a brand-new world. (George Clinton, Tallahassee)

This is what America is supposed to be like." (Karen Williams, Atlanta)

E pluribus unum.

By Marc Fisher |  January 20, 2009; 2:13 PM ET
Previous: Party Like It's 1865 (& Eat Before You Go) | Next: Inauguration Island: Did Bridges Need To Be Closed?


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