Wednesday, April 8, 2009

President Barack Obama at the Prague Castle

I woke up early on Sunday, April 5, 2009 in order to see President Barack Obama's public speech at the Prague Castle. Tram 22 from the Malostranská metro station headed up the hill past the castle to the stop Pohořelec was more crowded at 7 a.m. than I have ever seen it during the 16 years I've lived here in Prague, Czech Republic. I waited in line at the security checkpoint just in front of the large square before the castle for almost two hours as thousands who had arrived there earlier slowly trickled past the airport type security checks. Even with such a huge crowd in front of me, once I cleared security I was lucky enough to find myself a spot not more than 50 feet in front of the podium, where an hour later at 10 a.m. I was able to take a nice photo with my mobile phone of the presidential couple together on stage, before Barack Obama began his speech.

I was particularly impressed with Barack Obama's references to Czech history. He even managed to work the statue of Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk beside him, the first president of the newly formed Czechoslovakia in 1918 with ties to Chicago, nicely into his introductory remarks. From the reaction of the Czech people in the audience I would say he truly won them over, even garnering a smattering of applause with his brief mention of the proposed US radar base in the Czech Republic, which is opposed by 70% of the Czech population. President Obama also managed nicely to make his case for a world free from nuclear arms, while at the same time not backing away from commitments to keep the world, and not just the US, safe from terrorists.

I was a staunch supporter of Barack Obama on Twitter throughout his campaign, so it was a real treat for me to see him up close here in Prague and to be able to send updates about the event including photos in real time from my mobile phone to my Twitter account. Barack Obama is definitely the most talented and inspiring public speaker I have ever seen, and I have had the privilege of seeing many famous people in my lifetime. It is easy to understand why he has already won two Grammy awards for his spoken words. It was a fantastic day in Prague and I felt proud once again to be an American.

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Lynn ( said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and impressions. It was insightful to read about your thoughts and feeling vs just seeing the news casts of the trip.

Enjoy Prague - it's one of the most beautiful and special cities.

Winifred said...

It really was an amazing experience, I have to agree wholeheartedly.

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