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>>Roberts: Are you prepared to take the Oath, Senator?
>>Obama: I am.
>>Roberts: I, Barack Hussein Obama, do solemnly swear
>>Obama: I, Barack Hussein Obama, do solemnly swear
>>Roberts: that I will execute the office of President
to the United States faithfully
>>Obama: that I will execute ...
>>Roberts: faithfully the office
of President of the United States
>>Obama: the office of the President
of the United States faithfully
>>Roberts: and will, to the best of my ability
>>Obama: and will, to the best of my ability
>>Roberts: preserve, protect
and defend the Constitution of the United States
>>Obama: preserve, protect
and defend the Constitution of the United States
>>Roberts: so help you, God.
>>Obama: so help me, God.
>>Roberts: Congratulations, Mr. President.
[cheers]
All the best wishes to you.
[cheers]
["Hail to the Chief" music and 21 gun salute]
>>Feinstein: It is my great personal honor
to present the 44th President
of these United States, Barack Obama.
[cheers and applause]
>>Obama: Thank you. Thank you.
My fellow citizens.
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.
I thank President Bush for his service to our nation,
as well as the generosity
and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.
Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath.
The words have been spoken during rising tides
of prosperity and the still waters of peace.
Yet, every so often, the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds
and raging storms.
At these moments, America has carried on not simply
because of the skill or vision of those in high office,
but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals
of our forbearers, and true to our founding documents.
So it has been.
So it must be with this generation of Americans.
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.
Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered.
Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many;
and each day brings further evidence
that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries
and threaten our planet.
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,
and 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.
On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear,
unity of purpose over conflict and discord.
On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances
and false promises, the recriminations and worn
out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled
our politics.
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.
In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand
that greatness is never a given.
It must be earned.
Our journey has never been one
of short cuts or settling for less.
It has not been the path for the faint-hearted -
for those who prefer leisure over work,
or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame.
Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers,
the makers of things - some celebrated but more often men
and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us
up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.
For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled
across oceans in search of a new life.
For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West;
endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.
For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord
and Gettysburg, Normandy and Khe Sahn.
Time and again, these men and women struggled and sacrificed
and worked until their hands were raw
so that we might live a better life.
They saw America as bigger than the sum
of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences
of birth or wealth or faction.
This is the journey we continue today.
We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth.
Our workers are no less productive
than when this crisis began.
Our minds are no less inventive, our goods
and services no less needed than they were last week
or last month or last year.
Our capacity remains undiminished.
But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests
and putting off unpleasant decisions -
that time has surely passed.
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 our 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.
We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids
and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together.
We will restore science to its rightful place,
and wield technology's wonders
to raise health care's quality and lower its cost.
We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil
to fuel our cars and run our factories.
And we will transform our schools and colleges
and universities to meet the demands of a new age.
All this we can do.
And all this we will do.
Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions -
who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many
big plans.
Their memories are short.
For they have forgotten what this country has already done;
what free men and women can achieve
when imagination is joined to common purpose,
and necessity to courage.
What the cynics fail to understand is
that the ground has shifted beneath them -
that the stale political arguments that have consumed us
for so long no longer apply.
The question we ask today is not whether our government is too
big or too small, but whether it works -
whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage,
care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified.
Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward.
Where the answer is no, programs will end.
And those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held
to account - to spend wisely, reform bad habits,
and do our business in the light of day -
because only then can we restore the vital trust
between a people and their government.
Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force
for good or ill.
Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched,
but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye,
the market can spin out of control -
the nation cannot prosper long
when it favors only the prosperous.
The success of our economy has always depended not just
on the size of our Gross Domestic Product,
but on the reach of our prosperity; on the ability
to extend opportunity to every willing heart -
not out of charity, but because it is the surest route
to our common good.
As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice
between our safety and our ideals.
Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils
that we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter
to assure the rule of law and the rights of man,
a charter expanded by the blood of generations.
Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them
up for expedience's sake.
And so to all the other peoples and governments
who are watching today, from the grandest capitals
to the small village where my father was born:
know that America is a friend of each nation and every man,
woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity,
and we are ready to lead once more.
[applause]
Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism
and communism not just with missiles and tanks,
but with the sturdy alliances and enduring convictions.
They understood that our power alone cannot protect us,
nor does it entitle us to do as we please.
Instead, they knew that our power grows
through its prudent use; our security emanates
from the justness of our cause, the force of our example,
the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.
We are the keepers of this legacy.
Guided by these principles once more,
we can meet those new threats
that demand even greater effort - even greater cooperation
and understanding between nations.
We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people,
and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan.
With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly
to lessen the nuclear threat,
and roll back the specter of a warming planet.
We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver
in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims
by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents,
we say to you now that our spirit is stronger
and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us,
and we will defeat you.
For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength,
not a weakness.
We are a nation of Christians and Muslims,
Jews and Hindus - and non-believers.
We are shaped by every language and culture,
drawn from every end of this Earth;
and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war
and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger
and more united, we cannot help but believe
that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines
of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller,
our common humanity shall reveal itself;
and that America must play its role in ushering
in a new era of peace.
To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward,
based on mutual interest and mutual respect.
To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict,
or blame their society's ills on the West -
know that your people will judge you
on what you can build, not what you destroy.
To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit
and the silencing of dissent, know that you are
on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand
if you are willing to unclench your fist.
To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you
to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow;
to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds.
And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty,
we say we can no longer afford indifference
to suffering outside our borders;
nor can we consume the world's resources
without regard to effect.
For the world has changed, and we must change with it.
As we consider the road that unfolds before us,
we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans
who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts
and distant mountains.
They have something to tell us, just as the fallen heroes
who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages.
We honor them not only because they are the guardians
of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service;
a willingness to find meaning
in something greater than themselves.
And yet, at this moment -
a moment that will define a generation -
it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.
For as much as government can do and must do,
it is ultimately the faith and determination
of the American people upon which this nation relies.
It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break,
the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours
than see a friend lose their job which sees us
through our darkest hours.
It is the firefighter's courage to storm a stairway filled
with smoke, but also a parent's willingness to nurture a child,
that finally decides our fate.
Our challenges may be new.
The instruments with which we meet them may be new.
But those values upon which our success depends - honesty
and hard work, 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.
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.
This is the price and the promise of citizenship.
This is the source of our confidence - the knowledge
that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.
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 sixty years ago might not have been served
at a local restaurant can now stand before you
to take a most sacred oath.
[cheers and applause]
So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are
and how far we have traveled.
In the year of America's birth, in the coldest of months,
a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires
on the shores of an icy river.
The capital was abandoned.
The enemy was advancing.
The snow was stained with blood.
At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most
in doubt, the father
of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:
"Let it be told to the future world...that in the depth
of winter, when nothing but hope
and virtue could survive...that the city and the country,
alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet it."
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.
[cheers and applause]
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President Barack Obama's Inaugural Address

2246 Folder Collection
wei-chi published on July 27, 2015
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