Riley’s inauguration message rings true

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 21, 2003

Gov. Bob Riley is making it clear he wants to reach out to everyone in Alabama and help us forget the emotions associated with a close election. He also wants us to remember our spirit.

Riley’s speech at Monday’s inauguration was stirring and solid. His message was one of unity and it was one that our state needed to hear.

Riley told us Monday about “the spirit of Alabama.” The spirit theme laced his speech into a tight and powerful message.

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“Each one of us has a common bond

&045;&045; a spirit of Alabama that dwells within us,&uot; he said. &uot;It’s that pride and devotion to this state that binds us together in a way people outside this state don’t always understand.”

Riley was born in Alabama and attended Alabama public schools. He is 100 percent Alabamian. We need to put our trust in this man who is trying to awaken in ushopes he can further propel our state.

Riley noted the many famous Alabamians who made us realize that we can accomplish so much. He spoke of Bear Bryant, Shug Jordan, Rosa Parks, Hellen Keller, Jesse Owens and others who shaped and defined Alabama’s spirit.

That spirit is still alive. Sometimes it remains too far below the surface, and even dormant, but it is there and will flow forth with the right type of leadership and direction.

We think Riley is ready to provide that leadership.

At his inauguration, Riley announced the creation of a Sprit of Alabama medal. Four people were named its first recipients.

Riley then stepped on a few toes by telling us we must come together and reach a level of unity in this state that we have never seen before. He is absolutely right. We hope that Riley will push for what is best for the state and not special interests furthering a cause.

Unity is an easy idea to float on inauguration day but much harder to put into action. Riley needs the entire state to work toward unity and the good of Alabama.

Riley’s message of spirit and unity was refreshing and moving. He reminded us that we are not fulfilling our potential.

“For too long, the people of Alabama have forgotten who we are and what makes us great. For too long, we have focused on our differences &045;&045; in our politics and backgrounds, in our race and beliefs &045;&045; rather than cherishing the unity and pride that binds us together.”

Well said, governor, and good luck.