The crowds stretched for more than a mile, nearly two million people in Washington, D.C. to witness history. The swearing in of Barack Obama, the first African-American president in the history of this nation, carries strong significance with people of all backgrounds.
School teachers. Doctors. Lawyers. Artists. Writers.
"It means a lot," said Ravens wide receiver Derrick Mason, who watched the historic event from his home. "No one thought [we] would ever see this. It's a wonderful thing. Hopefully our country is becoming the country it's supposed to be."
It is estimated that President Obama's inauguration will go down as the most-watched event in history. ABC News estimated that 75 percent of the nation watched President Obama speak to nation for the first time as commander-in-chief.
Linebacker Ray Lewis was more impressed by the way Obama carries himself, as he noted in a recent interview. Lewis commended Obama as an example of "what a lot of other men need to do."
"Focus. Determination. Commitment. Go do whatever you set out to do," said Lewis.
"There's a first for anything," said safety Daren Stone. "It's something you want to tell your grandkids, 'I was there for the first black president.'"
As President Obama gave his inaugural addresses, his vision for America included principles that Ravens players may have found familiar.
"It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levee breaks, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their jobs which sees us through our darkest hours," President Obama said on the west steps of the U.S. Capitol. "It is the firefighter's courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent's willingness to nurture a child that finally decides our fate."
Accountability. Responsibility. Brotherhood. These ideals played key roles in the Ravens turnaround this past season. This work ethic helped the Baltimore Ravens succeed in 2008. It is in those same ideals that President Obama and countless citizens believe the United States can enter a new era of prosperity.
"Our challenges may be new," President Obama said firmly. "The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends: honesty and hard work, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism. These things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history."
Linebacker Bart Scott summed it all up appropriately: that this event could inspire and make people believe in a way that sports never could.
"Anything is possible."