What a day to be an Egyptian

What a day to be an Egyptian.

I don’t have anything particularly insightful to add to the nonstop commentary, but I feel like I would be remiss if I didn’t at least acknowledge and applaud this moment in history.

What a day to be Egyptian!

In my soon to be 54 years of life, I can’t remember knowing any feeling of broad-sweeping elation such as that the Egyptians are experiencing today. Probably most people don’t ever have such an experience in a lifetime.

My dad was 12 year old in 1945 when the allied forces achieved victory in Europe and the forces of Nazi Germany surrendered on what we now commemorate as VE day. Dad remembers a huge party in the streets of his small hometown of Piqua, Ohio. My dad had two uncles fighting in the war. Many, if not most or even all, families were impacted by the news of the end of WWII. Elation was experienced and celebration ensued.

The people took a stand in Egypt. A hope became an act and the act became a movement and the movement grew and gained a life of its own.

On a vacation to Philadelphia years ago, we stood in the room where the U.S. Constitution was signed years after the Declaration of Independence and a bloody war of Independence. I saw the depiction of the sun on the president’s chair in that room where the Constitutional Congress met to take on the onerous task of putting on paper the rules to govern this new nation they had fought for and won.

Ben Franklin, at the age of 81, “attended most of the sessions and was troubled by the recurring signs of opposition to the draft Constitution. In a notable address toward the close of the Convention, he gently urged dissenting delegates to put aside their legitimate criticisms — he himself had several — and recognize the version before them as the best compromise possible.” (http://usinfo.org/facts/gov/frankln.htm)

A lesson our legislators today sorely need to learn.

In 1787 as the last of the delegates were signing the Constitution, Benjamin Franklin pointed to the sun on the president’s chair and said, “I have often … in the course of the session … looked at that sun behind the President without being able to tell whether it was rising or setting. But now at length I have the happiness to know it is a rising and not a setting sun.”

The people of Egypt have a lot of questions to answer. They have pushed their situation from a known, albeit unsatisfactory even intolerable one, into a great unknown.

We can only hope that the voices of individuals with sound and reasonable judgment will be heard and that human rights and justice will prevail.

But for today they deserve to celebrate.

What a day to be an Egyptian.

1998 - Independence Hall in Philadelphia, PA