Let’s build on the spirit of unity that we saw on Inauguration Day

As I write, it’s been less than a week since I stood shivering in the cold January morning, feet firmly planted on a small patch of the Capitol lawn with my daughter and her boyfriend’s family awaiting the moment when Barack Obama would become our 44th president.

And still the words seem so small: historic, amazing, incredible, iconic. I have yet to hear a commentator who has put the perfect word to the event.

Watching the faces of those around me as they soaked up the energy of their countrymen and visitors from around the world, as they shed the emotion of years of intolerance - at least for that moment - will forever hold a special place in my memory.

If only we can take from that day a small measure of the good feeling that kept two million people smiling despite the cold and the crowds and acknowledge our common bonds, our nation will be a better place.

For whatever each of us - regardless of our political persuasion and whether we’re pleased with the outcome or not - saw in the election of our new president, that day should mark a beginning of a new American spirit.

Let the politicians shed at least a layer or their partisan bonds. Let parents set better examples for their children. Let business leaders learn a new respect for ethics. Let each individual commit to finding a way to make our communities better.

In his address, President Obama said: “On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord. On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas that for far too long have strangled our politics.

We will have to overcome many challenges and it will take hard work. Let’s start in our homes and in neighborhoods to renew our “unity of purpose.”