Standing before an estimated crowd of 700,000 people, Barack Hussein Obama took the oath of office for a second and final time Monday and delivered an address that laid out his vision for his second term and the country.
“Today we continue a never-ending journey, to bridge the meaning of those words with the realities of our time,” Obama declared after reading the opening words of the Declaration of Independence that invoke people’s essential equality and invoked the inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Obama emphasized that this is a collective enterprise.
Dipping back into the nation’s history, he began four consecutive paragraphs with the word “together” as he talked about America’s journey through civil war, the construction of railroads and highways, and the determination to care for the vulnerable and poor.
Obama also used “We, the people,” the phrase that opens the Constitution in four of five paragraphs, and asserted that the oath he took from Chief Justice John Roberts was no different than a solider signing up for duty or an immigrant becoming a citizen.
Obama specifically mentioned climate change as a challenge that must be met, referred to gay and lesbian members twice-once directly by calling them our “gay brothers and sisters”, the other time through a reference to the Stonewall riots-and invoked the memory of the slain children in Newtown.
In the end, he urged the country’s people to take up the challenges of moving to realize the nation’s timeless promises in our time, to help the country answer the call of history, and carry into an uncertain future that precious light of freedom.
Click here for the text of the inaugural address.