This is taken entirely from a colleague, Eli Strong (with permission):
When the media announced that Barack Obama would be the next President of the United States, something changed. A small block was filled with the sounds of exhilaration when a group of screaming people spilled out of a house on Bates Street. There was chanting, screaming, crying, hugs and phone calls to friends and family. But what changed wasn’t just the name of the President or what party he represented. What changed was that for a moment there were no strangers in DC, just friends you hadn’t met yet.
Random people walked up and down the street shaking our hands, giving us hugs, sharing kind words of congratulations and jubilation at the feelings of “Finally” and “Thank God”. We made our way down the street and stood at the intersection of Florida Avenue and North Capitol Street. We chanted with every passerby. Every car honked their horn at us, reaching their hands, arms and heads out of the windows and chanting with us as they passed. As we walked down Florida Avenue people emerged from their homes and greeted us with more chants, cheers, handshakes and hugs.
We could hear the commotion on U Street from where we were. The people flowed out of the bars and restaurants there and partied in the street…together. The camaraderie continued as Baker and I walked the nine blocks home later that night. It was the most love I have felt from this city in the four years I have lived here. I think one of my favorite moments from the evening took place in front of that house on Bates. An African American man shook one of our hands and said “Now we are equal.” While I know that the racial problems that have plagued our country are not magically solved, last night was an historic step in the right direction.
For those of you that shared that momentous occasion with me, thank you. It is a night I will one day tell my children and grandchildren about. For those that didn’t, you were there with us in spirit. Please send a huge thank you to everyone in your department for all the hard work they put into getting Obama elected. Thank them for me and all of those united in DC and the rest of the country. I will leave you with two things that spoke to me yesterday. The first was the last two lines from a CNN ad in the New York Times yesterday: “Some people live for history. We live for the moment just before.” The second was heard by many on NPR: “Rosa sat so Martin could walk. Martin walked so Obama could run. Obama is running so our children can fly.” Let’s go change the world.
I’ll remember this on days when the rain won’t stop and the days seem long.
(The only changes made were hyperlinks I added.)