Obama assumes presidency
Janhavi Purohit & Stephanie Takach
Issue date: 1/23/09 Section: News
Over a million people gathered in the National Mall and throughout Washington D.C. to listen to Obama's speech and to watch the Inaugural parade.
Obama recognized the economic crisis at hand, during his speech, but attempted to restore faith amongst the American public. He addressed the issues of environmental concerns and foreign relations as well and said the country would look to a more environmentally responsible future, and better relations with other countries.
"That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy 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," Obama said.
He also promised to redress the many issues that have been on the minds of the American public, citing the example of the country's founding fathers, who worked to build the country.
"In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of shortcuts or settling for less," Obama said in his speech. "Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things, some celebrated, but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom."
Obama briefly addressed some of his plans in his speech, including plans to create new jobs to boost and fix the economy, as well as better using natural resources to prevent the imminent energy crisis.
He added that foreign policy would involve extending a hand of peace to all countries, and did not mention former President George Bush's concept of the "axis of evil."
"And so, to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and we are ready to lead once more," Obama said.
Obama asked for the faith of the people in his government, and for the courage and determination embodied by those who serve the country.
Large screen televisions lined the National Mall down to the Lincoln Memorial to broadcast the events of the ceremony.
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) opened the ceremony with welcoming remarks and introduced each participant, including Rev. Rick Warren for the invocation and Aretha Franklin for her rendition of the song "My Country 'Tis of Thee."
The inaugural luncheon, held after the ceremony, was interrupted briefly by the collapse of Sen. Ted Kennedy due to convulsions. Kennedy was transported to the Washington Hospital Center, and was later reported to be awake and responding to treatment, according to NBC News.
The inaugural parade followed the luncheon, allowed the new President to walk and ride down Pennsylvania Avenue from Capitol Hill to the White House. It began at 2:30 p.m. and lasted two hours.
President and First Lady Obama attended ten inaugural balls throughout the evening following the parade.