Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Tales from the Inaugural Punchbowl: Samuel Richard

The campaign, election, and subsequent inauguration of Barack Obama moved many of us to tears. I watched the 44th President take oath on a 12 inch television screen mounted on the wall of my hotel room in Barcelona. Hearing the stories from friends who were at the historic event made me feel as though I was there. I have asked three friends if I could repost their stories here. This is the third and final post in a 3-part installment called Tales from the Inaugural Punchbowl.

The following story comes from Samuel Isaac Richard- Sam turns 24 this week and is a student at Arizona State University studying Nonprofit Leadership & Management. He has volunteered for various campaigns in Phoenix (as well as for Obama), organized for multiple causes, and has a heart to see the nonprofit sector embrace technology and collaborate with one another. The following was originally posted on his blog- you can find it him at

To Our Friends & Family-

We write to you with great joy and pride.

On the eve of the most historic event in our lifetime I asked my brilliant, caring, and gorgeous girlfriend, Kim, to marry me. And she said, "Yes!"

The Story

We were traveling with a few friends to Washington, DC for the Inauguration of President Obama. After settling into our temporary home we decided to take a late-night tour of the National Mall and avoid the 2 million other visitors with the same idea. We walked past the Capitol, a few Smithsonian Museums, the Washington Monument, and the White House before reaching the Lincoln Memorial.

On our way up the steps, I had handed my camera to a friend and said, "Start taking pictures." I then began a speech that I had rehearsed about 175 times, but still screwed up. It went something like, "Much change has happened here. Among many others, Cesar Chavez, John Lennon, and Martin Luther King, Jr. inspired hundreds of thousands of people from these steps, built in honor of one of America's greatest leaders. But all that pales in comparison to the change you have made in my life." Up until this point, Kim was oblivious to what was about to happen. Those who know me well can resonate with Kim, who thought that this was just another one of my pontifications about changing the world. Blah, blah, blah...

But then, I got down to one knee, pulled out the box that I had in my jacket and asked Kim to be my wife. The rest, they say, is history. And a lot of crying. :)


The Zulu word, ubuntu, roughly translates, "I am who I am because of who we all are," and that definition has much relevance in our lives. Kim and I are lucky to have such a deep community to share this next chapter of our lives with, and we are blessed by the reality that marriage is about much more than just two people. It is about two families, two groups of friends - two distinct communities - converging to become one. We thank each and every one of you who has been part of this journey and look forward with expectant hope to whatever comes next!

With Much Love & Gratitude,

Sam & Kim

I would love to hear your inauguration story- post a link, or share in the comments section.

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