I thought President Obama’s inaugural address was extraordinary this week. It will be quite interesting to see if he is able to provide the leadership necessary to bring Democrats and Republicans together to effectively address the many challenges facing our nation. I am quite hopeful this will be the case. I was especially struck by his focus on the enduring values that indeed have defined our great nation and his call to action by all of us.
“Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends - hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism - these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility - a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task. This is the price and promise of citizenship.” President Barack Obama 1/20/09
Indeed these words are a call to action as citizens to do what we can, to do what we must to strengthen our nation. I couldn’t help but think about these words in the context of working in a hospital. These same values hold true for the women and men who work hard to meet the needs of the communities we serve. Our challenges have never been greater in meeting those needs and yet we are called to action. Compelled to fight through all the paperwork and regulation, scarcity of resources and government underpayment, complexity and pace of change…why? Simply the desire to make a difference in the lives of those we serve. We do this not grudgingly, but rather gladly, because the opportunity to serve others is our distinct privilege.
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