Sunday marked the beginning of President Barack Obama’s second term in office following a private ceremony at the White House. The next day, President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden were sworn in during a public ceremony on the steps of the United States Capitol Building in front of an audience ot 800,000 people.
The day started with the Presidential Oath of Office, followed by the Inaugural Address and then continued with performances by Beyoncé, Kelly Clarkson and James Taylor, as well as poet Ricardo Blanco.
The 57th Inauguration Ceremony was regarded as “a celebration of great democracy” by Senator Charles Schumer, Democratic senator from New York, who opened the ceremonies as the inaugural ceremonies chairman. Senator Schumer noted that the theme of the day’s events was “Faith in America’s Future.” He described the improbable completion of the Capitol dome in 1863, comparing it to the many challenges Americans face today but can overcome.
The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir performed a rendition of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” that brought President Obama to tears midway through. Following this performance, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor administered the vice-presidential oath of office to Vice President Biden.
James Taylor performed “America the Beautiful”, which was followed by the presidential Oath of Office. United States Chief Justice John Roberts administered the oath, which marked President Obama’s fourth time reciting it (during the first inauguration Roberts flubbed the oath, so it had to be redone). Kelly Clarkson performed “My Country ’Tis of Thee” and Beyoncé sang the National Anthem.
Obama’s second term begins with a different emotional fervor than his first, but the hope of change still exists for many. Some of the hot button issues President Obama is facing currently include gun-control reforms, a slowly improving economy, and challenges abroad to name a few.
Obama’s Inaugural Address certainly tied into the theme of the ceremony, which was unity. Obama repeated the word “together” seven times throughout his 19 minute speech and referenced the great history of the nation as a signal of what our nation can become.
“What binds this nation together and makes us exceptional is our allegiance to the Declaration,” Obama said. He referenced the historical text all throughout his address, noting that “We the People” must work towards creating the nation our forefathers spoke of so that everyone will someday be endowed with “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”.
Obama, while enforcing the idea that these things must be done together as one great nation regardless of political differences, tied this together with history—referencing the great triumphs and tribulations our nation has faced and will continue to face.
“We are made for this moment and we will seize it as long as we seize it together,” Obama said.
Obama touched on many different domestic policy and social issues, including working peacefully with other countries and maintaining strong alliances in the world, marriage equality, and the safety of our children, which comes in the wake of the recent Newtown tragedy.
The theme of togetherness and unity of the Inaugural Address leaves Americans feeling increasingly optimistic.


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