Obama takes place in history books
Barack Obama cemented his place in history yesterday, taking the oath of office as the nations first black president and ushering Americans into a new era of responsibility.
He reflected on the United States hard-fought beginnings and emphasized that its future shadowed by war and economic distress depends on the same doctrine of sweat and tears.
Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and begin the work of remaking America, said Obama, the nations 44th president and its fourth youngest at 47.
As outgoing President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney looked on rather glumly, Obama encouraged greater accountability for the weakened economy, caused by our collective failure to make hard choices.
Nearly 2 million ecstatic supporters braved unrelenting cold and flooded the National Mall in Washington, D.C., to share in the historic moment. Worldwide, billions followed the ceremony via TV proof of how broadly Obamas message of hope and change has resounded.
Joined by wife Michelle and daughters Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, Obama placed his hand on a worn Bible used in 1861 by Abraham Lincoln when he was first sworn in. He stumbled slightly over the 35-word oath of office but followed with an inspirational inaugural speech that heralded a new dawn of progress.On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord, said the former Illinois senator. On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises.
Obama, son of a white mother from Kansas and a black father from Kenya, touched upon his racial background during his 18-minute speech. He spoke about energy efficiency and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation and the world, Obama said.
And he delivered a direct message to enemies: We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense.
Afterward, the president and first lady joined Vice President Joe Biden and his wife as they rode along the 1.7-mile parade route, getting out of their heavily armored car to walk at length and greet jubilant supporters.
Hes the peoples president, said Patricia Correia, 68, of California. He would not be the type to sit here in the car. He knows that we waited out here this long.
Fifty-eight federal, state and local law enforcement agencies and tens of thousands of cops secured yesterdays festivities and no one was arrested. (with AP)