red line
   Back to Archives
   Back to IF Home

Jess Long

Traveling My United States While in U.K.

Travel Writer in U.K.

Jessica Long

January 20th, 2009 is a day I will never forget.

the city of London catered to the American people traveling its streets on this past historic Tuesday.  While movie theaters projected special viewings of the live footage on the big screen, cafes served free Americano’s.  Pubs brewed up discounts and museums opened doors to Americans with free admission.  The ceremony was aired in its entirety not only live, but again at 7:30pm at bars and restaurants across the city, to assure the 9-5 work crowd didn’t miss a syllable.

Saddened initially by the thought of being any where but the United States when President Obama gave his Inauguration speech, yearning to be amongst the hopes and dreams of the American people, I highly underestimated the power of the foreign experience.  My eyes were opened wider, to the vastness of the global impact of the US decisions, when the 44th President accepted his newly acquired position.  The realization of the unity of the world for those fifteen minutes, viewing the same ceremony, thinking similar thoughts of optimism and excitement, was an indescribable dawning.  I am certain that had I not been immersed in a foreign culture and a very international city, I would not have recognized the tremendous global impact of President Obama’s election. 

At work on Wednesday, (I’ve been working part time as a horseback riding tour guide and instructor in Hyde Park), as always I had tourists from all over the world riding horses with me.  From Morocco to France to Australia, each and every one of them had watched the speech and was eager to tell me their uplifted reaction.  The positive feed back was intertwined with “congratulations!” and “thank you’s” and all I could do was smile.

Although I am only twenty five, I think I am mature for my age and I have managed to experience a lot in my twenty five years.  And although I thought I understood the history and the importance of President Obama’s acceptance into the US Presidency, I was unaware of its immense power until the day itself actually arrived.  I was shocked by the massive turnout of supporters in D.C. and amazed by the coverage of celebrations world wide.  This is a day that will remain with me for my lifetime.  The memories will be kept vivid and I’m positive the story will be told often.  I feel lucky to have witnessed such a momentous occasion while personally encountering a small portion of its global effect.  Furthermore, I feel fortunate to have recognized and realized the truly immeasurable impact of President Obama to the world. 

white divider