Barack Obama Inaugurated as 44th President of U.S.

January 20, 2009 By:
Barack Obama Inaugurated as 44th President of U.S.

Over a million people gathered on the National Mall today chanting, dancing and singing in anticipation of the swearing-in of Barack Obama as the nation's 44th president.

Indeed a historical day as the 44th President stood on the same steps that slaves had built. A long way from the Emancipation Proclamation, which was 147 years ago.

The historic event drew myriads of celebrities including singer Aretha Franklin who sang “My Country Tis of Thee” for the crowd, which included Steven Spielberg, Dustin Hoffman, Denzel Washington along with former Presidents Clinton, Carter, Bush Senior and George W. Bush.

Obama’s supporter, talk show host Oprah, was spotted sitting on the same row as actor Samuel L. Jackson. Winfrey hugged Senate hopeful Caroline Kennedy and later said of the inauguration, "It's behind the dream. We're just here feeling it with the throngs of people. It's amazing grace personified."

"I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors," Obama began.

"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!"

Touching on the state of the economy, he added, "Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

"For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act — not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth.

"Know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more," he said, which got the crowd fired up. "For the world has changed, and we must change with it."

He continued, "Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends — hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism — these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths.

"...A man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath. So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled.

"Let us remember these timeless words: with hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come...Thank you, God bless you, and God bless the United States of America."

Not only is today a historical day for African Americans, but a historical day for all Americans, as the Obama era begins with us Americans hopeful of change. No more lies, no more economic crises and war on terror.

Today opens doors for everyone and makes us learn that nothing is impossible! Times are tough but as of today, we're out with the old and in with the new. Yes We Can!

Check out Obama's full speech HERE and to find out where the stars will be tonight in honor of the Inauguration in our Hotspots section.