Tuesday, Apr. 28, 2009

The Inauguration

Day 1
Jan. 20, 2009

"What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility — a recognition on the part of every American that we have duties to ourselves, our nation and the world; duties that we do not grudgingly accept, but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character than giving our all to a difficult task."

Barack Obama in his Inaugural Address, minutes after being sworn into office as the 44th President

Obama became known for his soaring speeches throughout the campaign, but in his Inaugural Address he strikes a decidedly more sober tone, focusing on the sizable challenges the country faces and the individual civic responsibility needed to overcome them. His inspiring words echo out over a sea of nearly 1.8 million people stuffed onto the National Mall — likely the largest event ever in the nation's capital.

After a congressional luncheon marred by the health scare of Senator Ted Kennedy's collapse, the celebrating continues until the wee hours of the morning, with the Obamas marching down Pennsylvania Avenue and then stopping by 10 official inaugural balls peppered with celebrities like Beyoncé, Marc Anthony, Faith Hill, Shakira and Alicia Keys. All eyes remain on Michelle Obama, who wows the crowd with a long white gown fashioned for her by up-and-coming designer Jason Wu.

Aside from a few minor glitches — including Chief Justice Roberts' oath of office flub and some ticket holders' not being able to get onto the Mall — much of the highly-anticipated Inauguration festivities go off without a hitch.

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