Reflections on President Obama - Where in the World is Kate

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Sincere Thank You President Obama

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On this historic day, #dayone, the Office of the Presidency changes from President Obama to President Trump. I want to share my Obama experience in Istanbul Turkey, eight years ago. I have never shared this. Perhaps now is the time. Because of today’s inauguration, it affected my reflection on the President’s time in office. This moment and my one President Obama experience my point of view was formed. The encounter shows me the danger President Obama experienced every day and the sacrifice he made for all of us. My Sincere Thank You, President Obama!

The security he endured every day to stay as safe as possible while protecting himself, me, my rights and leading America forward was incredible.

Funny how one moment, I experienced change my world view.

Eight Years Ago – President Obama

Around the time of President Obama’s Noble Peace Prize, on Obama’s first trip abroad, he went to Istanbul. As he started his presidency, no one could imagine what he would be forced to deal with as president.

His day one started like many other presidents, with a walk, then being sworn in as the 44th president. But upon reflection, how could he know what he would have to deal with which would be more than most Presidents.

The President dealt with an economic crisis, killing Bin Laden’s, Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, and ISIS terrorist attacks around the world and in the USA. To serve is a great sacrifice.

Obama-security-istanbul, Istanbul, President Obama

How Can Anyone Be Prepared to be President?

No one can be 100% prepared to be president, to be Commander in Chief, to send our children to war, to deal with natural disasters, and political strife.

But, it’s up to each of us to reflect on the Office of the Presidency and our President Obama, as a leader, and now the peaceful transition of power which makes the USA so unique. We may agree to disagree on the new president. But, we must agree, that the Office of the Presidency of America, deserves our respect.

Hope – Yes We Can

My hope is this that we respect the Office of the Presidency and give the new President Trump the opportunity to lead a peaceful transition to show the world what America stands for in the World.

We stand for peace, peaceful transition of power, and that all people are respected.

Demonstrate if you must, but hear out and give President Trump a chance to lead. Upon my reflection on Obama, I believe he taught us to Hope, to Believe and to Care about each other.

President Obama slogans were – Change We Can Believe in, Hope, Yes We Can. From my point of view, his slogans are about America, not a campaign. I still want to believe!

In reflection, President Obama is right. His slogans reflect our values as American’s. Here is my story of what I learned about the Office of the Presidency and my reflection on Obama, in Istanbul Turkey.

My Sincere Thank You, President Obama!

Haiga-sophie-istanbul, President Obama, Istanbul, Sultanahmet

Istanbul, Turkey Eight Years Ago

My travels happened to take me to Turkey at the same time as the President’s arrival. Everyone knew he was in town, and visiting the historic sites. When President Obama arrived in Istanbul to visit the Hagia Sophie security seemed non-existent.

The day before there weren’t any particular safety measures. Therefore, I didn’t expect to find many changes in my daily routine. After all, I was in a foreign country, and things are done differently all around the world.

Obama-security-istanbul, President Obama, Istanbul German Fountain

Streets of Istanbul at Dawn – President Obama’s Arrival

What no one knew or fully comprehended, is the level of security that would be necessary to protect the President while he was in town. I had my big camera, I woke early and decided to walk around before dawn to see what changes happened overnight.

Here is what I saw and experienced. At first, everything seemed normal. As the pre-dawn light shows the streets were empty.

What I saw and experienced seems surreal in hindsight. At first, everything seemed normal. As the pre-dawn light shows the streets were empty.

Obama-security-istanbul, President Obama

The quiet streets of Istanbul, Turkey

Morning Light Morning

Everything changed when dawn broke as if a stage set was changing before my eyes.

Obama-security-istanbul, President Obama

Security – President Obama’s Arrival

Security flooded the streets, barricades went up, and the press descended on the small area.

Obama-security-istanbul, President Obama

Police as President Obama Arrives

The Police marched in to the secured area. Somehow, probably because of my large camera I was shown into the security area for photographers and began to take photos of the President’s arrival.

Obama-security-istanbul, President Obama

The Press

After dawn broken, and say everything in the full daylight, I realized how much had changed. The press arrived, security, police, and troops were now everywhere. Wow somehow, I was on the inside watching the press pool.

In my wildest dreams, I have no idea how this happened. To my surprise, the police just kept waving me through the barriers. So I entered. Then suddenly, the amazing arrival – of – the leader of the free world began.

If you had been there, it would change your view of the Office of the President. It made me realize it is more than a person it is a concept. It is a belief in peace, transition, and the rule of order.

This first-hand view of our President in a foreign country, flooded my heart, my head, and all my emotions. I was standing on the inside, in a place, I shouldn’t be.

Immensely grateful that somehow, I was past the gates and fences. Close to the President, my heart thumped so loud you could hear it.

Obama-security-istanbul, President Obama

Then the President arrived.

Obama-security-istanbul, President Obama

The security now surrounded every entrance and exit – we were surrounded by tanks and troops. Honestly, quiet my heart, I felt scared, because I felt more security meant I was less secure not more secure.

And more importantly, I was part of a moment in history.

My camera and I were close to the President and everything he stood for as an American.

Obama-security-istanbul, President Obama

Obama-security-istanbul, President Obama

Obama-security-istanbul, President Obama

All this for a 15 minute visit. Hard to believe that anyone can live with this much security and lack of personal space.

Sincere Thank You President Obama

If this is what – it means to be president, I would say, I don’t have the nerve to be in this state for long. My nerves couldn’t take being the president. Having been this close to his world was nerve racking.

Because of this moment, I respect who every is president. He or she has my respect because of what they need to do every day in our name and for me.

Obama-security-istanbul, President Obamas

Life in Sultanahmet

At last, the president’s arrival and his short visit, over in fifteen minutes and just as quickly gone without a trace. The procession moved on to another location. Just as suddenly, the streets of Istanbul cleared. Everyday people filled the streets.

Life in Sultanahmet resumed as if nothing happened.

My feeling is to have a servant; we call President of all the people is unique, an American gift. To watch a moment in President Obama’s life touched my heart and mind. My sincere reflection on President Obama is he is a man of sacrifice, dedication, and endurance.

What’s Next

My final thought is President Obama was a servant; he was the President of all the people. Our President is uniquely American, no other presidency compares. To watch a moment in President Obama’s life touched my heart and mind.

President Obama is he is a man who sacrificed for all of us, his dedication, and endurance is vast.

Sincerely, Thank You, President Obama. Thank you for all you gave me and the country. I am proud to be American and to have lived during this time in history.

Obama-security-istanbul, President Obama

Life goes on even in the middle of a presidential visit

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Kate started traveling for work. Now with grown children, who are travelers, she travels for pleasure looking for great travel experiences. Currently, her home is in Bellevue, WA, and lives with her cat Angelina Jolie. She has a Bachelor's of Fine Arts, Studio Arts and Art History from the University of Colorado, an MBA and Master of Arts, Management. Her favorite things are exploring new cultures, traveling the world, creating a painting and sour or spicy foods.

2 Comments

  1. RHONDA

    January 22, 2017 at 4:49 pm

    Very nice article and honoring to President Obama! Thanks for writing.

    • Kate

      January 23, 2017 at 8:00 am

      Thank you, Rhonda, I can’t imagine the security President Trump will now have.

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