January 20th, 2009
11:46 AM ET

A time of hope

By Val Willingham
CNN Medical Producer

They have come from all over the country: San Francisco, Charlotte, Hartford, Atlanta, Grand Rapids. Old and young, black and white, Asian, and Hispanic. They have traveled in wheelchairs and by skateboards. A few arrive in limos, thousands have taken the subway. Many have just walked. But their purpose is the same. They are in the nation's capital to witness history; to be able - years from now, when asked, "Where were you when he took office? What were you doing?" - to respond, “I was there."

As a long time Washingtonian, I am experienced at riding the Metro (subway) system. So when they warned that millions were expected to attend the Inauguration of Barack Obama, I knew it was going to be tough getting into work. Arriving this morning at 6:30 a.m. at my local station I found the crowds to be heavy, but light-hearted. It may have been cold, but the feeling was warm. People with Obama buttons, hats, and banners jammed the Metro platforms. All were smiling, none minded that there was standing room only on the train. Once in transit they began to sing, to laugh, and to talk to strangers. It was a feeling of camaraderie, of pure joy that I have never experienced on our subway system. And the hope and anticipation was contagious.

As we enter into a new age of American politics - as we watch the first black American become the 44th President of The United States - it is time to take stock of our love for our country and our love for one another. We are one nation of good people from all nationalities, who care about the state of our union. It is time we join hands and support our new administration - we all MUST, be we Republicans or Democrats, Independents or those just uninterested - to take care of one another and make this country strong. These are tough times. Our hearts are stressed, our minds are clouded. If we have hope, all things are possible. Positive thinking can make all the difference, both physically and mentally. Positive thinking helps with stress management and can even improve our health. Positive thinking reflects our outlook on life, our attitude towards ourselves and others. So instead of complaining, it's time to do something for one another. We still have a long way to go to get the U.S. back on track, but this is the perfect time to start.

What do you think?

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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.