Obama inaugurated as 44th president
Jenn Metz | Wednesday, January 21, 2009
WASHINGTON – The millions of those who poured in from across the country, braved the cold and waited in hours of disorganized lines to witness history, rejoiced in celebration shortly after noon on Tuesday as Barack H. Obama was sworn in as the 44th president of the United States.
His inaugural address, delivered before a crowd perhaps unlike anything our nation’s capital city has ever seen before gathered on the National Mall, once again enumerated the challenges to come but also called for an America that returns to the ideals set forth by its forefathers, an America that is “ready to lead once more.”
Those in attendance, forming an indistinguishable sea of waving American flags, listened almost in reverence to the words of the first black president of the United States, who expressed his humility at being able to go down in the history books as the 44th man to take the oath of office.
Obama, just after taking the oath of office on the same Bible Abraham Lincoln used in his 1861 inauguration, spoke for almost 20 minutes, assuring his fellow Americans that the problems that face our nation will eventually be overcome.
“Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real, they are serious and they are many,” he said. “They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this America: They will be met.”
Among these challenges: A faltering economy, that is “badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age,” he said.
Michelle Obama held the Bible for her husband, a “man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant,” as he said in his speech.
His words not were not only addressed to the American people, but “all other peoples and governments” who watched the ceremony on television all over the world, “from the grandest capitals to the small village where [Obama’s] father was born.”
Marking Tuesday as a new era in the history of the nation, Obama called all citizens to work toward a better tomorrow.
“We must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America,” he said.
The response from the crowd at several moments during Obama’s speech was ear shattering – all were clapping, some cheering loudly and others still weeping from happiness.
Obama, who arrived at the Capitol Tuesday morning with President George W. Bush, repudiated some of the policies put in place by his predecessor, calling for change where change is needed.
“The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works, whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified,” he said. “Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end.”
At the close of his address, the new president called upon the nation to “remember these timeless words:
“With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what stores may come; let it be said by our children’s children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter,” he said. “And with eyes fixed on the horizon and God’s grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.”