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OF MY FATHER
(For Air On Simple Gifts)

The Inauguration of Barack Obama filled my heart more for the sacrifices of my father than any such thing my life has had to endure. Composer John Williams created for the occasion “Air and Simple Gifts”. During its playing I was asked what I was thinking and I simply said, Of My Father.

Oh father
I miss you most on this day
You who have suffered for this occasion
And we who have reaped the bounty
Of your many indignities
The grace of your quiet pain and solemn anger
That weathered for my posterity
The wind that could so understandably
Have been whirlwind reaped
Upon this nation
Yet in somber grace
Imagining this day not for yourself
But for me you called upon
Your better angels
In the midst of inhumanity
On this day
There is a renewed spirit in the air
One not breathed from the lips of our kind
Since the emancipation of hope
You oft wondered would ever be of my living
This day a sun finally rises for you
A son of Africa
Born beyond the chains of our ancestors
And the shackles of our disbelief
A darkened star shines bright this day
Yet every hue bathes in the warmth of his rising
Father
The world dances
In weeping joy, I dance for you
A dance of America lo many score
And generations deferred
The melody familiar but never mine own
Until this day
Today we are Washington
Today we are Lincoln
No longer patriots denied
Inheritance to the halls
Built by your hands
In kindred tow we are the children
Of all nations
Stoked from the embers of a King
We dance by the flame
In coronation song we sing
No longer an ode to our someday overcoming
Neither that we have arrived
But that we finally
Sojourn as one
The hands and hearts
That meet this day
Join into a smiling twilight
That no darkness can cover
For you and every star in heaven
Will smile upon the world this very night
For we have embraced the perfecting of our faith
That we may count it all joy
The rhythm of sin and blessing
That mark the footfalls
Of the sea of humanity
Upon which this ship of state now embarks
Built from the timbers
Of the old rugged cross
Today we sail
Upon the winds of our collective exhale
Dance then wherever ye may be
As we journey into the dawn of dreams fulfilled
For surely you, father
And your fathers father
Are smiling upon this place
This shining city on a hill
Tarnished no more
Redeemed from the stain of its unholy birth
Prodigal fathers
And bastard sons no more
Rejoice in tears
That have no color
And hearts that have no hue
So dance we all
For air on simple gifts
This day
Our daily bread
Truly hath been given unto us
Now forgive us our debts
As we forgive our debtors
And lead us not into temptation
But deliver us from evil
For thine is this kingdom
And the power
And the glory
Now and forever
Amen