Obama lauded US diversity and noted that Burma, with its ethnic minorities, was much the same. Yet, he said: “I stand before you today as president of the most powerful nation on Earth, but recognizing that once the color of my skin would have denied me the right to vote.”
“As extraordinary and difficult and challenging and sometimes frustrating as this journey may seem, in the end, you, the citizens of this country, are the ones who must define what freedom means,” Obama said.
“I stand here,” he concluded, “with confidence that something is happening in this country that cannot be reversed, and the will of the people can lift up this nation and set a great example for the world. And you will have in the United States of America a partner on that long journey.”
Richard Halloran is a commentator based in Hawaii.