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Brian Charles: Changing America one person at a time

Washington Journal: the Inauguration

Posted: January 22, 2009 4:59 p.m.
Updated: January 23, 2009 4:55 a.m.
Editor's note: Fifteenth and final installment of The Signal's exclusive series as Signal Staff Writer Brian Charles traveled to Washington, D.C., to cover the inauguration of President Barack Obama.

How do you measure change in such a short time?

President Barack Obama's administration is less than 72 hours old, but change is happening.

The president signed executive orders to close the prison camps in Guantanamo Bay and end torture.

The shift in his war on terror as compared to the previous administration is stark. Hope over fear, some might say.

Obama won't fight terror with the same tactics terrorist have used to fight the United States - to scare the world into submission.

Instead, he will obey the rule of law and maintain our lofty aspirations for freedom and justice and hold those goals aloft as a beacon for the rest of the world.

But changes in torture policies and a prison camp aren't the only changes in America.

For some Americans, change may just be a feeling in their hearts.

"It really did change me," said Jenna Edzant, 17, of Stevenson Ranch. She was among 36 Academy of the Canyons students who traveled to the inauguration in Washington, D.C.

"I really appreciate our government and I am planning a future in politics," Edzant said.

Obama's inaugural speech, his call to service and the magnitude of the inauguration combined to inspire Edzant to spend her life in public service. "I want to be the president of the United State in 2032," she said.

Is that change, or just the giddiness of a teenager?

"For now I plan to join a local Democratic club and remain active in politics," Edzant said. "But my overall goal is to get involved in national politics because that's where you can make the most change."

Change is not always so drastic.

"It gave me more confidence in the future of our country," said Ashley Martin, 17, of Saugus, also an AOC student who attended the inauguration.

More than a million people walked away from the historic ceremony feeling better about the country in which we live, Martin said. And that confidence comes at the right time.

"We are at the lowest point our country could ever be. I think the country is refreshed," she said.

Cody Cooper, 17, of Canyon Country, is cautious about using the word "change." Cooper also attends AOC and traveled to the inauguration.

"I am not sure that (Obama) will be able to make all the changes he promised, but I know he will attempt to," Cooper said.

"I'm hoping he is as good as people thought he was," said Nicholas Johnson, 17, of Newhall. He also went to Washington, D.C., with the AOC group.

"This change is for my wife and me, but it will really resonate with my daughter," said Dwayne Cooper of Valencia.

"There is no more ceiling on possibilities," he said. "In fact, there are more probabilities for all."


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