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From a Landscape of Faces, A Singular Feeling

Crowds take part in the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama along the National Mall during the swearing-in ceremony Tuesday, Jan, 20, 2009, in Washington.
Crowds take part in the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama along the National Mall during the swearing-in ceremony Tuesday, Jan, 20, 2009, in Washington. (Luis Alvarez - AP)
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By Marc Fisher
Wednesday, January 21, 2009

O ut of many, one:

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

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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)


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