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“The Hill We Climb” – Amanda Gorman
When day comes we ask ourselves, where can we find light in this neverending shade? The loss we carry, a sea we must wade. We’ve braved the belly
of the beast, we’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace and the norms and
notions of what just is, isn’t always justice. And yet the dawn is ours before we
knew it, somehow we do it, somehow we’ve weathered and witnessed a nation
that isn’t broken but simply unfinished.
We, the successors of a country and a time where a skinny black girl
descended from slaves and raised by a single mother can dream of becoming
president only to find herself reciting for one. And, yes, we are far from
polished, far from pristine, but that doesn’t mean we are striving to form a
union that is perfect, we are striving to forge a union with purpose, to compose
a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and conditions of man.
So we lift our gazes not to what stands between us, but what stands before us.
We close the divide because we know to put our future first, we must first put
our differences aside. We lay down our arms so we can reach out our arms to
one another, we seek harm to none and harmony for all.
Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true: that even as we grieved, we grew,
even as we hurt, we hoped, that even as we tired, we tried, that we’ll forever be
tied together victorious, not because we will never again know defeat but
because we will never again sow division.
Scripture tells us to envision that everyone shall sit under their own vine and
fig tree and no one should make them afraid. If we’re to live up to our own
time, then victory won’t lie in the blade, but in in all of the bridges we’ve made.
That is the promise to glade, the hill we climb if only we dare it because being
American is more than a pride we inherit, it’s the past we step into and how we
repair it. We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation rather than share it.
That would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy, and this effort
very nearly succeeded. But while democracy can periodically be delayed, but it
can never be permanently defeated.
In this truth, in this faith, we trust, for while we have our eyes on the future,
history has its eyes on us, this is the era of just redemption we feared in its
inception we did not feel prepared to be the heirs of such a terrifying hour but
within it we found the power to author a new chapter, to offer hope and
laughter to ourselves, so while once we asked how can we possibly prevail over
catastrophe, now we assert how could catastrophe possibly prevail over us.
We will not march back to what was but move to what shall be, a country that
is bruised but whole, benevolent but bold, fierce and free, we will not be
turned around or interrupted by intimidation because we know our inaction
and inertia will be the inheritance of the next generation, our blunders become
their burden. But one thing is certain: if we merge mercy with might and
might with right, then love becomes our legacy and change our children’s
birthright.
So let us leave behind a country better than the one we were left, with every
breath from my bronze, pounded chest, we will raise this wounded world into
a wondrous one, we will rise from the golden hills of the West, we will rise
from the windswept Northeast where our forefathers first realized revolution,
we will rise from the lake-rimmed cities of the Midwestern states, we will rise
from the sunbaked South, we will rebuild, reconcile, and recover in every
known nook of our nation in every corner called our country our people
diverse and beautiful will emerge battered and beautiful, when the day comes
we step out of the shade aflame and unafraid, the new dawn blooms as we free
it, for there is always light if only we’re brave enough to see it, if only we’re
brave enough to be it.

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