U.S. president No. 44 was sworn into office this week. This man has said he believes that if you love your country, you will change it for the better with perseverance.

This leader is touted as having the potential to be another Abe Lincoln. So it is not surprising that he travels and duplicates a modern-day version of the historic whistle stop train ride taken by President Lincoln over 100 years ago for his inauguration.

Our man of the hour is now an African-American. The stage is now prepared for this renowned African-American to lead our grand nation back to its rightful place as the dominant leader of the free world.

Are the expectations great for this new president during these difficult times? Yes, plenty is expected of him. He must lead the collective conscience of the United States of America out of enormous troubled times. I believe he will lead so that we may survive as a better people and a better nation.

Mr. Obama is an everyman, yet he is a Harvard educated lawyer. He proved what a great team he assembled to achieve leading the most powerful office in the world. He had to always be better or the best in order to win the presidency.

I am moved and invigorated, as are many other Americans. However, we must contain the anxiety of anticipation for the changes to come. This decade may well be known as the decade of change.

In the 2008 presidential race, the Democratic and Republican parties saw a black man become the front-runner over the favored Hillary Clinton, while unknown Alaska Gov. Sarah Pailin became a running mate for Republican John McCain. Now ultimately these opponents will be working as colleagues to provide the leadership for positive change in this great nation.

Do I believe it? It is somewhat incredulous even now as you read this column mere days after our new leader took his oath of office. The event was one of the most festive and joyful inaugural celebrations in recent history.

Our new president has been compared to the late John F. Kennedy because of his powerful and captivating charisma to bring people together.

President Barack Obama has been treated like a rock star because he has all the qualities of greatness: looks, magnetism, charm, leadership ability, appeal to the masses, character, caring for the good of the people, confidence, height, athleticism, education and experienced in life. The media uses these words to describe him as you would be describing a superstar from Hollywood or professional sports.

Honestly, I am deeply moved almost to tears to live during these historic times that facilitate such accomplishments. True progress has always been limited and controlled by the elite, whoever they might be at the time. Now, again, progress moves on.

It is also great to read about leaders like State Sen. Juan Chuy Hinojosa, state representatives Abel Herrero, Solomon Ortiz Jr. and Todd Hunter, who are working together to create a permanent annual state holiday to honor a local civil rights activist, hero and legend, Dr. Hector P. Garcia.

As a U.S. Army veteran who has lived and experienced the unfortunate and unpalatable side of prejudice, I applaud the efforts of men who work for justice for all. Dr. Garcia was the man who accumulated enough money and clout to assure making a difference in the treatment of fellow Americans.

History records demonstrate that 60 years ago on January 10, 1949, Dr. Garcia stood tall and called the funeral director of the Three Rivers funeral home. The reason was because Beatriz, the widow of U.S. Army Private Felix Longoria, was refused use of their hometown chapel. The refusal explanation was because the Longorias were Mexican-Americans.

Apparently, Private Longoria being killed in the war was not a shield against racism. Dr. Garcia wrote to then-Sen. Lyndon Johnson (later President Johnson) for help in his demand for justice, which was freedom for the family to use the chapel for funeral services for Private Longoria.

Dr. Garcia received many insults and threats because of his involvement to help the Longoria family. This incident received much-needed national news media attention. The successful work that Dr. Garcia accomplished for our community helped the poor, the disadvantaged and the downtrodden to make a better quality of life for the citizens of today.

I remind you of this incident to relate to Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech, given about 45 years ago. Do not forget history so that we can make better choices and changes for the good of all citizens in this great nation. We all have a dream of a better life.

Dr. Hector P. Garcia, Martin Luther King, and presidents John F. Kennedy and Barack Obama overwhelmingly inspire a better life, idealism and a new declaration of independence with resounding patriotism.

Maybe 60 years from today, my great-grandchildren will be writing about the achievements of President Obama and how he improved the quality of life for our great nation, and maybe even the world.

Joe-Santos Medina is a resident of Robstown. Readers may contact him via email at joesantosm@hotmail.com.