silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.â€
The facial expressions of those on the National Mall indicated that people understood the gravity of Obama’s message. “Yes,â€ they cried as he spoke. “Amen,â€ they yelled.
His message was also of inclusion and respect for all peoples — and of peace.
“For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness.Â We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus – and non-believers.Â We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.
“For Walter and Lela Morris, a couple from California in their 80s, the pilgramage to bear witness to history was a moment they will never forget. “We are exhilarated and celebratory,â€ said Walter Morris. “We are seeing today the dream come true.â€
Two years after beginning his quest for the White House as a first-term senator from Illinois, Obama moves into the Oval Office.
As the thousands upon thousands of wildly enthusiastic Washingtonians and out-of-town visitors witnessed the 56th inauguration, they couldn’t help but wonder, “Who would have thunk it?â€ of the historic event.
The U.S. Marine Band, the U.S. Navy Band, the girls and boys choirs of San Francisco, and Aretha Franklin performed musical selections throughout the ceremony. Violinist Itzhak Perlman, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, and clarinetist Anthony McGill, conducted by composer/arranger John Williams, also performed.
Following the call to order and opening remarks by California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Dr. Rick Warren delivered the invocation before Vice President-elect Joe Biden was sworn into office by the Supreme Court Associate Justice John Paul Stevens.
After giving his inaugural speech, Obama escorted former President Bush to Executive One helicopter so he and wife Laura could go to Andrews Air Force Base and then fly to Texas to begin their lives as private citizens.
The Obamas and Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Jill are attending a luncheon with their families and other dignitaries in the Capitol’s Statutory Hall. After lunch, the Obamas and Bidens will make their way down Pennsylvania Avenue to their parade review stand in front of the White House. From there, they’ll watch more than 13,000 parade participants march, drum, boogie, and in a few cases — mow— along the 1.7-mile parade route.
Tonight, Obama will be host the first-ever Neighborhood Ball with a line-up of talent, including Beyonce, Mary J. Blige, Mariah Carey, Faith Hill, Jay-Z, Alicia Keys, Shakira, Stevie Wonder and Nick Cannon as DJ.
Even later, the Obamas will attend