Monumental Moment

Monumental Moment Vermillion watches Obama take oath By David Lias
Plain Talk Tuesdayâ�?�?s crowd in the Neuharth Center on The University of South Dakota campus didnâ�?�?t come close to matching the millions of people who gathered in Washington, DC. Students and faculty took advantage of the big screen in the buildingâ�?�?s dining hall, or sat with their computers in front of the television sets there to watch Barack Obama take the oath of office. It was a moment unlike any other in the nationâ�?�?s history, as Obama became the first African-American man to become the nationâ�?�?s chief executive. Ty Towns, an African-American USD student from Chicago, IL, watched the entire ceremony. â�?�?I wish I could talk, but I canâ�?�?t; Iâ�?�?m speechless,â�? he said. Growing up in Chicago, Towns said he never expected such a unique piece of American history would become real. â�?�?My ancestors were slaves, and Iâ�?�?ve heard all the family stories,â�? Towns said. â�?�?Obviously, this is a very, very interesting experience. I think itâ�?�?s very interesting that he is a multi-racial president. I really donâ�?�?t know what to say; itâ�?�?s such a unique time in our nationâ�?�?s history.â�? Rachel Palmer, a USD student from Rapid City, believes the dayâ�?�?s event will make a significant, positive mark on the nationâ�?�?s history. â�?�?I think itâ�?�?s incredibly significant symbolically for a lot of the races in our country, and just everyone in general,â�? she said. â�?�?Itâ�?�?s a huge step for our country, and Iâ�?�?m excited to see what he (Obama) does. â�?�?I like him, and I have faith that heâ�?�?ll do what he thinks is best,â�? she said. â�?�?Hopefully Iâ�?�?ll agree with his plans.â�? Palmer greatest expectations from the new president include bringing about the positive changes that he talked about continually during his campaign. â�?�?Iâ�?�?m very hopeful that he can do that,â�? she said. â�?�?I first became interested in him because he wanted to get the corruption out of Washington. I think thatâ�?�?s a huge problem in our country. We as a democracy should not have corrupt leaders.â�? Palmer hopes Obama will stay the course on that campaign pledge. â�?�?I hope he tries to make sure that Washington becomes more about us Americans as opposed to big corporations and special interests,â�? she said. â�?�?I think itâ�?�?s a good message.â�? Scott Erickson of Douglas, WY voted for Hillary Clinton in the primaries. The USD students threw his support to Obama after Clinton ended her presidential bid. â�?�?I was really impressed with how he included so many people,â�? Erickson said right after hearing Obamaâ�?�?s inaugural speech. â�?�?He talked about people of different religions; he event talked about non-believers, and I was really happy to hear what he had to say about the nations of the world coming together.â�? Obama gave Erickson hope that the United States will take on a greater, more positive, global responsibility. â�?�?He talked about how we need to stop ignoring the developing nations in the world, and stop consuming so needlessly,â�? Erickson said. â�?�?Heâ�?�?s very diplomatic, and he wants the rest of the world to view America as a friend. Thatâ�?�?s why I support him.â�? He believes the racial barriers that Obama knocked down with his election resonates across the country, not just in areas of the nation with high minority populations. â�?�?Symbolically, itâ�?�?s a great achievement,â�? Erickson said. â�?�?Just look at where we were half a century ago, with Jim Crow, and how racism was so prevalent in our country. Itâ�?�?s really amazing to see how much progress weâ�?�?ve made in that regard.â�? Towns noted the positive qualities of the new president. But thereâ�?�?s no guarantee, he said, that Obama can solve all of the problems facing the nation today. â�?�?I guess one of my questions would be â�?�?will he be able to affect the kind of change that the nation needs?â�?�? â�? I donâ�?�?t know that Iâ�?�?m very optimistic in that regard,â�? he said. â�?�?I think itâ�?�?s all part of the human experience.â�? Towns said even the best politician, the best leader, is only human. Rather than put his trust in government, he said he believes a higher power will determine the nationâ�?�?s and the worldâ�?�?s fate. â�?�?Government leaders are public servants for our good,â�? he said, â�?�?but I think ultimately we must look at a higher source for the direction we need.â�?

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