Scene last night from Anchorage, Alaska, after the incredible speech by President-Elect Obama: walking from a campaign party through frozen city streets with a growing crowd of friends and acquaintances, including a group of recent African immigrants from Sudan and elsewhere.

Sudanese refugees waving American flags and getting hugs from nearly every group of delirious, screaming strangers we meet along the way. Earlier, one of the men had seen how happy I was. I’d explained that I volunteered for Obama for nearly a year. He tells me, “In Africa, we would say you planted your field. And now, you are harvesting your fruit.”

At the Election Central/convention center gathering later that night, standing behind one of the African boys who is blocking the bottom of an escalator, unwilling to move. I realize, belatedly, that perhaps he hasn’t seen too many escalators.

“Are you scared?”
“Do you want to hold hands?”
“OK, let’s do it together, lift one foot — here we go!”

And this morning — groggy, incredulous — I realize: We all did it together last night. We held hands and made the leap. And now, our nation of many colors and creeds, U.S.-born and recently arrived, gets ready for the exciting and difficult change to come. Here we go…

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