Posted: Jan 18, 2013 11:42 AM ESTUpdated: Jan 21, 2013 1:56 PM EST
“Welcome to this celebration of our great democracy,” Sen. Charles Schumer, D-NY, declared in opening the formalities of the nation’s 57th presidential inauguration.
Obama began his inaugural address by calling on Americans to act together.
“America’s possibilities are limitless, for we possess all the qualities that this world without boundaries demands: youth and drive; diversity and openness; an endless capacity for risk and a gift for reinvention. My fellow Americans, we are made for this moment, and we will seize it – so long as we seize it together.”
Obama went on to address how the nation’s founding ideals can continue to inspire Americans and their lawmakers.
“With common effort and common purpose, with passion and dedication, let us answer the call of history, and carry into an uncertain future that precious light of freedom,” Obama said.
A loud cheer came when Obama said the nation’s journey remained incomplete “until our wives, our mothers, and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts,” and “until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law.”
The president will provide more details about his second-term agenda when he delivers his State of the Union address Feb. 12.
The presidential inauguration began at 11:30 a.m. ET. Obama was given the oath by Chief Justice John Roberts on the Capitol steps, as he was at his first inaugural.
As he has throughout his presidency, Obama used social media as a platform to address the nation.
“We have a chance to finish what we started. Our work begins today. Let’s go,” Obama said in a pre-inauguration message on Twitter.
Obama and his family continued a White House tradition Monday morning, beginning the inauguration day with prayer and reflection.
The president and first lady, along with daughters Sasha and Malia, attended a church service at Saint John’s Episcopal Church near the White House. Vice President Joe Biden and his family also attended.
The official theme for the 2013 inauguration was “Faith in America’s Future,” commemorating the United States’ perseverance and unity, marking the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation and the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr’s march on Washington.
The president chose to take the public oath with his hand on Bibles that belonged to Lincoln and King.
The country remains sharply divided over Obama’s agenda, though polls show the president is viewed favorably by a majority of Americans.
CNN polling released Sunday showed that 54 percent of Americans believe Obama will be an outstanding or above-average president in his second term, while 43 percent said he’d be poor or below average.
The Inaugural Luncheon with Congress in the Capitol will take place after the swearing-in ceremony. The president and vice president and their wives will then lead the parade to the White House at 2:35 p.m.
Obama has cut back on some of the reveling from four years ago – there will be no concert on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, and only two official balls instead of 10.
But there has been and will be plenty of celebration, featuring big-name entertainers. Kelly Clarkson sang My County ‘Tis of Thee and Beyonce sang The National Anthem at the inaugural ceremony. Other high-profile performers who will appear at the balls tonight are Katy Perry, Brad Paisley, Alicia Keys, Chris Cornell, Jennifer Houston, Stevie Wonder and Usher.
The inauguration ceremony came after the president officially took the oath Sunday in an intimate White House ceremony witnessed by family. The Constitution stipulates that the president must be sworn in on Jan. 20. Because it fell on a Sunday this year, the ceremonies went on Monday.
Trending throughout the day were speculations about what the first lady and her daughters would be wearing. Michelle Obama has had great influence on American fashion thorughout her husband’s presidency.
“I’m so excited to be here to be a part of a country where anyone can attend the ceremony…and of course to see what Michelle is wearing,” Tanuja Yalamanchili of New Providence, NJ said.
Michelle Obama and her daughters didn’t disappoint. The first lady wore a navy-colored coat and dress by designer Thom Browne. Daughter Malia, 14, had on an outfit from J.Crew. Sasha, 11, went with a Kate Spade coat and dress.
President Obama took his public oath of office before a crowd of more than 800,000 people, about a million fewer than witnessed the inauguration of the United States’ first black president in 2009.
“I came in 2009 and it was different,” Sjuata Yalamachili of Buffalo, NY said. “People were just as happy, but not as many came from around the world. It’s more of a domestic crowd, it’s just not as big.”
An estimated 1.8 million people attended Obama’s 2009 Presidential Inauguration, a record-breaking number for any event in the nation’s capital.
Copyright 2013 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.
WSTP much of this content was used with permission of WBTV.