Yesterday, on Martin Luther King Day, President Obama publically took the oath of office for his second term as president of the United States.
President Obama: I, Barack Hussein Obama, do solemnly swear.
Shelby: Putting a symbolic twist on a time honored tradition, Mr. Obama placed his hand on – not one, but – two Bibles. One owned by President Abraham Lincoln. And the other which belonged to the civil rights leader Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
President Obama: So help me God.
Officiate: Congratulations, Mr. President.
Shelby: The use of these two Bibles was especially significant, since this year marks the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s I Have a Dream speech, and the 150th anniversary of President Lincoln’s signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, which ordered freedom for 500,000 slaves.
President Obama: We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths, that all of us are created equal, is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls and Selma and Stonewall. Just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone, to hear a king proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on earth.
It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began.
Shelby: President Obama is entering his second term. What issues do you want him to focus on?
Sarah Hedstrom: Gun safety and safety for all the kids in schools. You know, about the shooting, I just hope that he makes the right decisions.
Maggie Monahan: I’d also like to see the president focus on education reform and reform of the tax code.
Nick Kraus: Well, I hope that he, obviously, stays focusing on the economy because that’s something that affects everybody in the country.
Shelby: Hundreds of thousands of people, including some big celebrities, traveled here to Washington for the inauguration weekend.
Where did you come from to get here today?
Nick: I came all the way from the great city of Dallas, Texas.
Inauguration observer: Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
Inauguration observer: Well, I was actually in Palms Springs for a lacrosse tournament.
Inauguration observer: San Francisco.
Shelby: Wow! How long did it take to get here?
Observer: Five hours!
Nick: Well, I just think it’s very significant from a historical standpoint having our first African-American president on this great holiday.
Maggie Monahan: Around the world, there’s no celebration of a successful democracy like the American inauguration of the president.
Sydney Hawkins: I think it is really cool seeing stuff that you would normally see on TV, like, in person.
Shelby: Technically, while the world watched President Obama take the oath yesterday, he was officially inaugurated on Sunday by Chief Justice John Roberts in a small and private ceremony at the White House. That is because the Constitution requires the president to be sworn in at noon on January 20th, even if that date falls on a Sunday. Vice President Biden was also sworn in on Sunday by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor at the U.S. Naval Observatory.
Saturday was a day of service honoring Dr. King followed by an inaugural kids concert hosted by first lady Michelle Obama. Yesterday began with a presidential inaugural prayer breakfast for the nation’s political, cultural and spiritual leaders. And following his public oath, President Obama led a big parade down Pennsylvania Avenue, featuring members of the military and high school marching bands from across the country. And the day ended in high fashion last night with the formal inaugural balls.
- Why did President Obama use two bibles to take the oath?
- What was the symbolism of each of the two bibles?
- What are some of the events that are part of the inaugural celebration?
- Why was the President sworn into office on Sunday before the big celebration on Monday?
- What are some of the issues facing the president in the next four years?
- Why does the president believe that “we are made for this moment”?
- Why was “togetherness” an important theme of the president’s speech?