Today was a special day in American history. Barack Obama, the 44th president of the USA was sworn in at an inaugural ceremony in Washington DC. He is the first African American president. This was the first time I watched an inaugural ceremony. (never having had cable until 2008) It was a beautiful, sunny and freezing cold day. I thought the whole ceremony was beautiful, from the oath taking, using President Lincoln's Bible, to the prayers, to the special solo by Aretha Franklin, and the lovely music by a cello, violin, clarinet and piano, to President Obama's stirring speech to the nation. It gave me goose bumps. I never thought I'd see this day in my lifetime. I feel like we've arrived at a threshold; a turning point.
Here are my favourite parts of President Obama's speech: (taken from a transcript on the internet)
"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.
These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable, but no less profound, is a sapping of confidence across our land; a nagging fear that America's decline is inevitable, that the next generation must lower its sights.
Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real, they are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this America: They will be met.
We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.
This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed, why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall. And why a man whose father less than 60 years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.
America, in the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words; with hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms 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; 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.
Thank you. God bless you.
And God bless the United States of America."
President Barack Obama
The neighbourhood ball in WA, with the First Lady wearing a white chiffon dress designed by Jason Wu.