It is awe for what is, in fact, not change, but the natural, if difficult, progression of an ideal that is true and good and transcendent through time. Barack Obama's presidency isn't a change from, but a continuation of the American experiment toward its hoped-for destination.
Obama hinted at this in his speech by invoking American values of hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism. In honoring all those who came before, who fought and died from Concord and Gettysburg to Normandy and Khe Sanh, he reminded us that change is not a single event on Election Day, but an evolutionary process.
The change we've been waiting for? No, the goal we were always aiming for.
Americans really do believe in the dreams of our Founding Fathers, who envisioned and articulated what is at our human core -- the profound desire for a more perfect union. The vast majority of Americans really do believe, as Obama said Tuesday, in the "God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness."
And so, Barack Obama, biracial offspring of the American dream, came to be president.
It is now the day after. Work awaits, bills remain, wars persist. The afterglow is hard to sustain as the promise of yesterday becomes tomorrow's challenges. Armor on, cameras whirring, pens poised.
The march toward a more perfect union continues.
Good luck, Mr. President.