History will remember this day as one in which the revolutionaries of the Arab Spring took one of their biggest leaps towards freedom and democracy.
For Tunisia, the birthplace of the uprisings and reforms that swept across North Africa and the Middle East, voters turned out in en masse to cast ballots for a 217-person assembly that will forge a new government and constitution.
For Libya, the day marked the official declaration of liberation by the Transitional National Council and the freedom fighters who ousted the regime of Moammar Gadhafi.
An estimated two-thirds of eligible voters in Tunisia cast ballots 10 months after street vender Mohamed Bouazizi, 26, doused himself with a flammable liquid, set himself ablaze in Sidi Bouzid and triggered the unprecedented and thriving freedom movement.
The breaking point came Dec. 17, 2010 for Bouazizi, when a policewoman unlawfully confiscated his vegetable cart and produce in the city located 190 miles south of Tunis.
His self-immolation triggered street protests across the country that were met with a heavy-handed response by President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali's security forces and secret police.
The thirst for freedom only grew for the Tunisian people, who were already plagued with poor wages, lousy living conditions and out-of-control inflation.
Bouazizi suffered and eventually died on Jan. 4 2011. Ali was toppled 10 days later.
"I congratulate the millions of Tunisians who voted in the first democratic elections to take place in the country that changed the course of history and began the Arab Spring," President Obama said in a statement.
"Just as so many Tunisian citizens protested peacefully in streets and squares to claim their rights, today they stood in lines and cast their votes to determine their own future," Obama said.
Conditions were not much better for the Libyan middle class, even with an ocean of oil under their desert country. Gadhafi used the excessive profits to fill the treasuries of his family, his henchmen and African despots who had pledged their allegiance.
But backed by the most powerful coalition air force and navy on the planet, the revolutionaries were transformed by foreign military advisers from a rag-tag band of spirited, but ill-trained and equipped fighters into a force able to execute one of the most impressive offensives in modern history.
Like Tunisia, the new Libya presents the potential for democratic reform and freedom from tyranny. The TNC has vowed to embrace reform as it seeks to rebuild its nation.
"The transitional authorities can build on this movement by promoting reconciliation and respect for human rights across Libyan society, while helping to prevent reprisals and ensuring the justice and due process that the Libyan people expect and deserve," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a statement.
"The path to democracy is a long-term process that requires the participation of all Libyans," Clinton added.
It is very, very early to predict how the freedom movement will continue to play out, but the path that the revolution has taken shows signs that Bouazizi's extreme form of protest and ultimate sacrifice was not for nothing.