Hundreds of thousands of people gathered in Washington, D.C., on Monday, January 21, to witness the public Inauguration of President Barack Obama. Many in the crowd were bundled up in winter coats. They had arrived before dawn to be part of the historic event. By mid-morning, a thick band of people stretched from the grassy lawn of Capitol Hill, along the National Mall to the Washington Monument.
After taking the oath of office just before noon, Obama delivered his Inaugural Address. "My fellow Americans, we are made for this moment, and we will seize it, as long as we seize it together," he said from the steps of the U.S. Capitol Building. He talked about the issues he hopes to focus on in the years ahead, including immigration, the environment and civil rights.
During the President's remarks, spectators switched between careful listening and boisterous cheering. They chanted "O-ba-ma, O-ba-ma" and waved American flags.
Barack Hussein Obama, 51, is the 44th President of the United States. He is also the country's first African-American President. A Democrat, Obama was first elected in 2008. He was reelected for a second four-year term on November 6, 2012.
As called for in the Constitution, the President and Vice President took the oath of office on January 20. The small private ceremonies took place on Sunday at the White House and at the Vice President's house. The public swearing-in was held on Monday.
The McKoy family came to D.C. from Cary, North Carolina, to see the President take office. Lizzy McKoy, 17, was moved by Obama's speech. "It has inspired me to just go ahead, follow my dreams and do what I want," she told TFK. "I can do anything if I put in hard work."
"Our Work Begins Today"
The President's swearing-in was followed by a parade from the Capitol to the White House. A smiling President and Mrs. Obama waved to onlookers as they walked side by side down Pennsylvania Avenue.
The Obamas then proceeded to a reviewing stand in front of the White House. They watched marching bands, members of the military and floats go by. In the evening, the First Couple danced at the two official Inaugural Balls. At one, they were serenaded by Jennifer Hudson.
The President seemed to enjoy the celebration. But in a Twitter message, he expressed his eagerness to focus on the big job ahead. "I'm honored and grateful that we have a chance to finish what we started," he wrote. "Our work begins today. Let's go."
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