I expected that once this day would come, I’d feel overwhelming joy, that’d I cry tears of happiness mixed with pent-up sorrow over the needless loss and suffering of the past four years.

Instead I felt…relief.

A quiet, calm unobtrusive sense of relief washing over me and taking every bit of fear and anger with it.

And it felt just as good.

The terror of tomorrow, the fury of injustice and helplessness that burrowed into my heart has been uprooted. From out of the hole rise hope’s repressed seeds, released at long last, ready to embrace the world.

All of our problems won’t be resolved overnight. There’s a lot of work to be done, a lot of damage to repair. The answer, however, has always rested with us. It’s good to know that, after experiencing the worst, we won’t let it happen again so easily, not as long as we’re vigilant, wise and compassionate. By placing our faith and trust into caring, capable hands, we make that start. We hold them accountable so they can hold others accountable. We stand together so no one will perish alone again.

Tonight, however, we celebrate, and rest.

I love each and every one of you. I hope you have the best night’s sleep you’ve had in four years. I wish you peace, happiness, and above all, relief and release.