Page last updated at 19:45 GMT, Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Oceans apart for Obama day

Barack Obama has became America's 44th president, following his inauguration which was witnessed by millions of people around the world.

Evan and Wendy Grossman are US citizens, but have lived in Golders Green, London, since 2003.

They both watched the swearing in ceremony, but from very different vantage points.


Evan Grossman in Washington
Evan Grossman in Washington
I was thrilled when Obama finally took the stage. The magnitude of the occasion - an inspiring leader, our first African American president - finally sunk in.

I felt inspired by the speech and the desire to continue moving forward, challenged by Obama's words that we would all need to work together in new and different ways.

What stood out to me was the ability to draw hope in these difficult times from all of the other challenges that America has overcome.

I really felt, standing on the Capitol lawn, watching the son of an immigrant being sworn in, hearing about all of the times America had overcome adversity before, that anything is possible.

I hope that people in the UK will regard America again as an ally and a friend, not a bully.

I hope that across the world people will be inspired by what Obama has achieved and continues to achieve, and that the global community can come together on issues like climate change and terrorism to make the world a better place.

I think Obama can help the UK in several ways. He can work to bring home US and UK troops from Iraq; he can help ensure the US economy gets back on track, which will no doubt help European economies; he can put an end to US unilateralism and work in partnership with the UK.


There were six adults and seven kids at our inauguration party in London, including my sons Josh who is 11, and seven-year-old Simon.

Wendy Swart Grossman and her son Josh
Wendy Swart Grossman and her son Josh

What does any culture do when they get together for a wedding, a funeral, a christening, an engagement? We ate!

Mei brought spring rolls, Lesley made a cake iced with the words "Yes We Did!", Ken made a red (raspberries), white (whipped cream) and blue (berries) tart, and we had KFC chicken.

We wrote letters to President Obama with good wishes and congratulations and we wrote letters to our future selves.

We thought it would be cool to mark the day by writing letters telling, or reminding, ourselves where we were on 20 January, 2009 when President Obama was sworn in.

We went to bed knowing the world is different but we know what is expected of us and we have the willing spirit to be a part of it.
The kids wrote things like what their favourite songs are, who their best friends are, where they go to school and what they hoped they would have accomplished by the year 2029.

We looked for Evan's bald head in the crowd. At one point someone yelled: "Who is that bald guy?" and I came running from the kitchen into the playroom where the television is to see if it was Evan. No such luck, just Cheney.

It is so refreshing to have a smart and eloquent president again. We agreed with him that there is a lot of work to be done.

We went to bed knowing the world is different but we know what is expected of us and we have the willing spirit to be a part of it.

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