The speech

President Barack Obama. Has a nice ring to it, no?

Beyond the pomp, circumstance and symbolism, our 44th president didn’t deliver one of his signature rousing, lift you right off the floor speeches. In his inaugural address, our new president lifted himself above his own soaring rhetoric with striking substance.

There was no “Ask not what your country can do for you…” moment, but there was tough talk. To our foes and foes waiting in the wings, Obama was clear: “We will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.”

This guy means business, and he’s up to the task.

“You can’t outlast us and we will defeat you.”

Leave any doubt that this guy won’t be able to keep us safe?

Obama’s love of history and his passion for Scripture gave creedance to the vision he has already displayed and provided us with more insight as to what to expect from him.

Though challenges are real, serious and many, Obama said, he was firm in his candor that “know this America — they will be met.”

Obama reminded America that it chose hope over fear and unity of purpose over conflict and discord. He didn’t mention any names, but the guy was sitting to Obama’s left and soon skipped town after The Speech.

The time has come to set aside childish things — words from Scripture Obama embraced, which reminded us that we are a young nation but that doesn’t mean we have to act our age.

Our new president knows of humility — of the unsung heroes, the most obscure in their work, helped to build and keep a nation strong — they toiled so their children and their children’s children would know freedom and prosperity.

Obama saluted those who fought and died — from Concord to Normandy to Khe Sahn. Generations whose blood and treasure is still sacrificed today.

His is a future that knows no bounds. A JFK for this century — a lover of science and technological challenges that will test our mettle. He is secure enough to make us believe that our fear of the unknown can be conquered if we take certain risks. He’s living proof, after all.

As usual, President Obama did not disappoint. It’s nearly impossible for him not to grab our attention everytime he has the pulpit. He asks a lot, but it’s not, as the cynics would say, below our pay grade.

* Meet new threats that demand even greater effort.

* We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense.

* We understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned.

* Our capacity remains undiminished … everywhere we look, there is work to be done.

* Starting today, we pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

* There is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving all to a difficult task.

One can’t help but be moved by a speech that talks us up. We are better than even we expected ourselves to be.

It never hurts to be reminded of that — especially when you consider the source.

Now, let’s go to work.

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