2013 Inauguration Ceremony

Uploaded by whitehouse on 21.01.2013

Announcer: Ladies and gentlemen, the daughters of the President,
Malia Obama and Sasha Obama.
Also, Miss Marian Robinson, accompanied by
Catlynn O'Neill [phonetic].
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Announcer: Ladies and gentlemen, Dr. Jill Biden,
accompanied by Mrs. Alexander, Mrs. Boehner, Mrs. Cantor,
Assistant Secretary of the Senate Sheila Dwyer,
and Deputy Clerk of the House of Representatives Robert Reeves.
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Announcer: Ladies and gentlemen, the First Lady of the United States,
Mrs. Michelle Obama, accompanied by Secretary of the Senate Nancy
Erickson, Clerk of the House of Representatives Karen Haas,
Mrs. Schumer, Mrs. Reid, and Mr. Pelosi.
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Announcer: Ladies and gentlemen, the Vice President of the United States,
Joseph R. Biden, accompanied by Inaugural Coordinator for the
Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies Kelly Fado,
Senate Deputy Sergeant at Arms Martina Bradford,
House Deputy Sergeant at Arms Kerri Hanley,
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid,
and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.
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Announcer: Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States,
Barack H. Obama, accompanied by Staff Director for the Joint
Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies Jean Parvin
Bordewich, Senate Sergeant at Arms Terrance W. Gainer,
the House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving,
Chairman of the Joint Congressional Committee on
Inaugural Ceremonies Senator Charles E. Schumer,
Senator Lamar Alexander, the Speaker of the House of
Representatives John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry
Reid, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor,
and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.
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Announcer: Please be seated.
Ladies and gentlemen, the Chairman of the Joint
Congressional Committee for Inaugural Ceremonies,
the Honorable Charles E. Schumer.
(cheers and applause)
Senator Charles Schumer: Mr. President, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress,
all who are present and to all who are watching,
welcome to the Capitol and to this celebration of our
great democracy.
Now, this is the 57th inauguration of an American
president and no matter how many times one witnesses this event,
its simplicity, its innate majesty and, most of all,
its meaning, that sacred yet cautious entrusting of power
from we the people to our chosen leader never fails to make one's
heart beat faster as it will today with the inauguration of
President Barack H. Obama.
Now, we know that we would not be here today were it not for
those who stand guard around the world to preserve our freedom.
To those in our armed forces, we offer our infinite thanks for
your bravery, your honor, your sacrifice.
This democracy of ours was forged by intellect and
argument, by activism and blood and, above all,
from John Adams to Elizabeth Cady Stanton to Martin Luther
King, by a stubborn adherence to the notion that we are all
created equal and that we deserve nothing less than a
great republic worthy of our consent.
The theme of this year's inaugural is faith in
America's future.
The perfect embodiment to this unshakable confidence in the
ongoing success of our collective journey is an event
from our past.
I speak of the improbable completion of the Capitol Dome
and capping witness with the statue of freedom which occurred
150 years ago in 1863.
When Abraham Lincoln took office two years earlier,
the dome above us was a half-built eyesore.
Conventional wisdom was that it should be left unfinished until
the war ended given the travails and financial needs
of the times.
But to President Lincoln, the half-finished dome symbolized
the half-divided nation.
Lincoln said, "If people see the Capitol going on,
"it is a sign we intend the Union shall go on."
And, so, despite the conflict with which engulfed the nation
and surrounded the city, the dome continued to rise.
On December 2, 1863, the statue of freedom, a woman,
was placed atop the dome where she still stands today.
In a sublime irony, it was a former slave, now free American,
Philip Reid, who helped to cast the bronze statue.
Now, our present times are not as perilous or as despairing as
they were in 1863, but in 2013 far too many doubt the future of
this great nation, and our ability to tackle our own era's
half-finished domes.
Today's problems are intractable they say.
The times are so complex, the differences in the country and
the world so deep, we will never overcome them.
When thoughts like these produce anxiety, fear and even despair,
we do well to remember that Americans have always been and
still are a practical, optimistic,
problem-solving people, and that as our history shows,
no matter how steep the climb, how difficult the problems,
how half finished that tasks, America always rises to the
occasion, America prevails and America prospers.
And those who bet against this country have inevitably been on
the wrong side of history.
So it is a good moment to gaze upward and behold the statue of
freedom at the top of the Capitol dome.
It is a good moment to gain strengths and courage and
humility from those who were determined to complete the
half-finished dome.
It is a good moment to rejoice today at this 57th presidential
inaugural ceremony.
And it is the perfect moment to renew our collective faiths (ph)
in the future of America.
Thank you.
And God bless these United States.
(cheers and applause)
In that spirit of faith, I would now like to introduce civil
rights leader Myrlie Evers, who has committed her life to
extending the promise of our nation's founding principles to
all Americans.
Mrs. Evers will lead us in the invocation.
(no audio)
Myrlie Evers-Williams: America, we are here, our nation's capital, on this day,
January the 21st, 2013, the inauguration of our 45th
president, Barack Obama.
We come at this time to ask blessings upon our leaders,
the President, Vice President, Members of Congress,
all elected and appointed officials of the United States
of America.
We are here to ask blessings upon our armed forces,
blessings upon all who contribute to the essence of the
American spirit, the American dream,
the opportunity to become whatever our mankind,
womankind allows us to be.
This is the promise of America.
As we sing the words of belief, "This Is My Country,"
let us act upon the meaning that everyone is included.
May the inherent dignity and inalienable rights of every
woman, man, boy and girl be honored.
May all your people, especially the least of these,
flourish in our blessed nation.
One hundred-fifty years after the Emancipation Proclamation
and 50 years after the March on Washington,
we celebrate the spirit of our ancestors,
which has allowed us to move from a nation of unborn hopes
and a history of disenfranchised votes,
to today's expression of a more perfect union.
We ask, too, Almighty, that where our paths seem blanketed
by throngs of oppression and riddled by pangs of despair,
we ask for your guidance toward the light of deliverance and
that the vision of those who came before us and dreamed of
this day, that we recognize that their visions still inspire us.
They are a great cloud of witnesses unseen by the naked
eye, but all around us, thankful that their living was
not in vain.
For every mountain, you gave us the strength to climb.
Your grace is pleaded to continue that climb for America
and the world.
We now stand beneath the shadow of the nation's capital,
whose golden dome reflects the unity and democracy of one
nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
Approximately four miles from where we are assembled,
the hallowed remains of men and women rest in Arlington
Cemetery, they who believed, fought and died for
this country.
May their spirit infuse our being to work together with
respect, enabling us to continue to build this nation,
and in so doing we send a message to the world that we are
strong, fierce in our strength, and ever vigilant in our pursuit
of freedom.
We ask that you grant our president the will to act
courageously, but cautiously when confronted with danger,
and to act prudently, but deliberately when challenged
by adversity.
Please continue to bless his efforts to lead by example in
consideration and favor of the diversity of our people.
Bless our families all across this nation.
We thank you for this opportunity of prayer to
strengthen us for the journey through the days that lie ahead.
We invoke the prayers of our grandmothers,
who taught us to pray.
God, make me a blessing.
Let their spirit guide us as we claim the spirit of old.
There's something within me that holds the reins.
There's something within me that banishes pain.
There's something within me I cannot explain.
But all I know, America -- there is something within.
There is something within.
In Jesus' name, in the name of all who are holy and
right, we pray.
Crowd: Amen.
(cheers and applause)
Senator Schumer: I am pleased to introduce the award-winning Tabernacle Choir
-- the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir -- to sing,
"Battle Hymn of the Republic."
♪♪(music playing)♪♪
Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir: (singing) ♪ Glory, glory, hallelujah! ♪
♪ Glory, glory, hallelujah! ♪
♪ Glory, glory, hallelujah! ♪
♪ His truth is marching on ♪
♪♪(music playing)♪♪
♪ Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord ♪
♪ He is trampling out the vintage ♪
♪ Where the grapes of wrath are stored ♪
♪ He has loosed the fateful lightning ♪
♪ Of His terrible swift sword ♪
♪ His truth is marching on ♪
♪ Glory, glory, hallelujah! ♪
♪ Glory, glory, hallelujah! ♪
♪ Glory, glory, hallelujah! ♪
♪ His truth is marching on ♪
♪ His truth is marching on ♪
♪♪(music playing)♪♪
♪ In the beauty of the lilies ♪
♪ Christ was born across the sea ♪
♪ With a glory in His bosom ♪
♪ That transfigures you and me ♪
♪ As He died to make men holy ♪
♪ Let us die to make men free ♪
♪ While God is marching on ♪
♪ Glory, glory, hallelujah! ♪
♪ Glory, glory, hallelujah! ♪
♪ Glory, glory, hallelujah! ♪
♪ While God is marching on ♪
♪ Marching on ♪
♪ Glory, glory, hallelujah! ♪
♪ Glory, glory, hallelujah! ♪
♪ Glory, oh, glory, hallelujah! ♪
♪ His truth is marching on ♪
♪ Marching on ♪
♪ While God is marching on ♪
(cheers and applause)
Senator Schumer: Please join me in welcoming my colleague and my friend,
the Senator from Tennessee, the Honorable Lamar Alexander.
(cheers and applause)
Senator Alexander: Mr. President, Mr. Vice President, ladies and gentlemen,
the late Alex Haley, the author of "Roots,"
lived his life by these six words:
Find the good and praise it.
Today we praise the American tradition of transferring,
or reaffirming immense power in the inauguration of the
President of the United States.
We do this in a peaceful, orderly way.
There is no mob.
No coup.
No insurrection.
This is a moment when millions stop and watch.
A moment most of us always will remember.
It is a moment that is our most conspicuous and enduring symbol
of the American Democracy.
How remarkable that this has survived for so long in such a
complex country when so much power is at stake.
This freedom to vote for our leaders,
and the restraint to respect the results.
Last year, at Mount Vernon, a tour guide told me that our
first president, George Washington,
once posed this question, "What is most important,"
Washington asked, "of this grand experiment,
"the United States?"
And then Washington answered his own question in this way,
"Not the election of the first president,
"but the election of its second president.
"The peaceful transfer of power is what will separate our
"country from every other country in the world."
So today we celebrate the 57th inauguration of the
American president.
Find the good and praise it.
Now, it is my honor --
It is my honor to introduce the associate justice of the Supreme
Court, Sonia Sotomayor, for the purpose of administering the
Oath of Office to the Vice President.
Will everyone please stand?
Justice Sotomayor: Thank you, sir.
Senator Schumer: Thank you.
The Vice President: Thanks for doing this.
Justice Sotomayor: Thank you.
Mr. Vice President, please raise your right hand and repeat
after me.
I, Joseph R. Biden, Jr., do solemnly swear --
The Vice President: I, Joseph R. Biden, Jr., do solemnly swear --
Justice Sotomayor: -- that I will support and defend the Constitution of the
United States --
The Vice President: -- that I will support and defend the Constitution of the
United States --
Justice Sotomayor: -- against all enemies, foreign and domestic --
The Vice President: -- against all enemies, foreign and domestic --
Justice Sotomayor: -- that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same --
The Vice President: -- that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same --
Justice Sotomayor: -- that I take this obligation freely --
The Vice President: -- that I take this obligation freely --
Justice Sotomayor: -- without any mental reservation or purpose
of evasion --
The Vice President: -- without any mental reservation or purpose
of evasion --
Justice Sotomayor: -- and that I will well and faithfully discharge --
The Vice President: -- and that I will well and faithfully discharge --
Justice Sotomayor: -- the duties of the office on which I am about to enter --
The Vice President: -- the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter --
Justice Sotomayor: -- so help me, God.
The Vice President: -- so help me, God.
Justice Sotomayor: Congratulations.
(cheers and applause)
♪♪(music playing)♪♪
Senator Schumer: It is my pleasure to introduce renowned musical artist,
James Taylor.
(cheers and applause)
(no audio)
James Taylor: ♪♪(playing guitar)♪♪
(singing) ♪ O beautiful for spacious skies ♪
♪ For amber waves of grain ♪
♪ For purple mountain majesties ♪
♪ Above the fruited plain ♪
♪ America, America ♪
♪ God shed His grace on thee ♪
♪ And crown thy good with brotherhood ♪
♪ From sea to shining sea ♪
♪ From sea to shining sea ♪
Senator Schumer: It is my honor to present the Chief Justice of the United
States, John G. Roberts, Jr., who will administer the
Presidential Oath of Office.
Everyone, please rise.
(cheers and applause)
Chief Justice Roberts: Please raise your right hand and repeat after me.
I, Barack Hussein Obama, do solemnly swear --
The President: I, Barack Hussein Obama, do solemnly swear --
Chief Justice Roberts: -- that I will faithfully execute --
The President: -- that I will faithfully execute --
Chief Justice Roberts: -- the office of president of the United States --
The President: -- the office of president of the United States --
Chief Justice Roberts: -- and will, to the best of my ability --
The President: -- and will, to the best of my ability --
Chief Justice Roberts: -- preserve, protect and defend --
The President: -- preserve, protect and defend --
Chief Justice Roberts: -- the Constitution of the United States.
The President: -- the Constitution of the United States.
Chief Justice Roberts: So help you God?
The President: So help me God.
Chief Justice Roberts: Congratulations, Mr. President.
Well done.
United States Marine Band: ♪♪ ("Hail to the Chief") ♪♪
(cannon fire)
Senator Schumer: Ladies and gentlemen.
It is my great privilege and distinct honor to introduce
the 44th President of the United States of America,
Barack H. Obama.
(cheers and applause)
The President: Thank you.
(cheers and applause)
Thank you.
Thank you so much.
Vice President Biden, Mr. Chief Justice, members of the United
States Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow citizens,
each time we gather to inaugurate a president,
we bear witness to the enduring strength of our Constitution.
We affirm the promise of our democracy.
We recall that what binds this nation together is not
the colors of our skin or the tenets of our faith or
the origins of our names.
What makes us exceptional, what makes us America is
our allegiance to an idea articulated in a declaration
made more than two centuries ago.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men
are created equal.
That they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable
rights, and among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit
of happiness.
Today we continue a never ending journey to bridge the meaning of
those words with the realities of our time.
For history tells us that while these truths may be
self-evident, they've never been self-executing.
That while freedom is a gift from God, it must be secured
by his people here on earth.
The patriots of 1776 did not fight to replace the tyranny of
a king with the privileges of a few, or the rule of a mob.
They gave to us a republic, a government of, and by, and for
the people.
Entrusting each generation to keep safe our founding creed.
And for more than 200 years we have.
Through blood drawn by lash, and blood drawn by sword, we noted
that no union founded on the principles of liberty
and equality could survive half slave, and half free.
We made ourselves anew, and vowed to move forward together.
Together we determined that a modern economy requires
railroads and highways to speed travel and commerce, schools and
colleges to train our workers.
Together we discovered that a free market only thrives when
there are rules to ensure competition and fair play.
Together we resolve that a great nation must care for
the vulnerable and protect its people from life's worst
hazards and misfortune.
Through it all, we have never relinquished our skepticism of
central authority, nor have we succumbed to the fiction that
all society's ills can be cured through government alone.
Our celebration of initiative and enterprise, our insistence
on hard work and personal responsibility, these are
constants in our character.
For we have always understood that when times change, so must
we, that fidelity to our founding principles requires
new responses to new challenges, that preserving our individual
freedoms ultimately requires collective action.
For the American people can no more meet the demands of today's
world by acting alone than American soldiers could have
met the forces of fascism or communism with muskets
and militias.
No single person can train all the math and science teachers
we'll need to equip our children for the future.
Or build the roads and networks and research
labs that will bring new jobs and businesses to our shores.
Now, more than ever, we must do these things together,
as one nation, and one people.
This generation of Americans has been tested by crises that
steeled our resolve and proved our resilience.
A decade of war is now ending.
And economic recovery has begun.
America's possibilities are limitless, for we possess all
the qualities that this world without boundaries demands:
youth and drive, diversity and openness, of 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.
For we, the people, understand that our country cannot succeed
when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely
make it.
We believe that America's prosperity must rest upon
the broad shoulders of a rising middle class.
We know that America thrives when every person can find
independence and pride in their work, when the wages of honest
labor will liberate families from the brink of hardship.
We are true to our creed when a little girl born into the
bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed
as anybody else because she is an American, she is free, and
she is equal not just in the eyes of God but also in our own.
We understand that outworn programs are inadequate to
the needs of our time.
So we must harness new ideas and technology to remake our
government, revamp our tax code, reform our schools, and empower
our citizens with the skills they need to work hard or learn
more, reach higher.
But while the means will change, our purpose endures.
A nation that rewards the effort and determination of every
single American, that is what this moment requires.
That is what will give real meaning to our creed.
We, the people, still believe that every citizen deserves a
basic measure of security and dignity.
We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health
care and the size of our deficit.
But we reject the belief that America must choose between
caring for the generation that built this country and investing
in the generation that will build its future.
For we remember the lessons of our past, when twilight years
were spent in poverty and parents of a child with a
disability had nowhere to turn.
We do not believe that in this country freedom is reserved for
the lucky or happiness for the few.
We recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives,
any one of us at any time may face a job loss or a sudden
illness or a home swept away in a terrible storm.
The commitments we make to each other through Medicare
and Medicaid and Social Security,
these things do not sap our initiative.
They strengthen us.
They do not make us a nation of takers.
They free us to take the risks that make this country great.
We, the people, still believe that our obligations as
Americans are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity.
We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the
failure to do so would betray our children and
future generations.
Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of
science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging
fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms.
The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long
and sometimes difficult.
But American cannot resist this transition.
We must lead it.
We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power
new jobs and new industries.
We must claim its promise.
That's how we will maintain our economic vitality and our
national treasure, our forests and waterways, our crop lands
and snowcapped peaks.
That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our
care by God.
That's what will lend meaning to the creed our
fathers once declared.
We, the people, still believe that enduring security and
lasting peace do not require perpetual war.
Our brave men and women in uniform tempered by the flames
of battle are unmatched in skill and courage.
Our citizens seared by the memory of those we have lost,
know too well the price that is paid for liberty.
The knowledge of their sacrifice will keep us forever vigilant
against those who would do us harm.
But we are also heirs to those who won the peace, and not just
the war; who turn sworn enemies into the surest of friends.
And we must carry those lessons into this time as well.
We will defend our people, and uphold our values through
strength of arms, and the rule of law.
We will show the courage to try and resolve our differences with
other nations peacefully.
Not because we are naive about the dangers we face, but because
engagement can more durably lift suspicion and fear.
America will remain the anchor of strong alliances in every
corner of the globe.
And we will renew those institutions that extend
our capacity to manage crisis abroad.
For no one has a greater stake in a peaceful world than its
most powerful nation.
We will support democracy from Asia to Africa, from the
Americas to the Middle East, because our interests and our
conscience compel us to act on behalf of those who long
for freedom.
And we must be a source of hope to the poor, the sick,
the marginalized, the victims of prejudice.
Not out of mere charity, but because peace in our time
requires the constant advance of those principles that our
common creed describes; tolerance and opportunity,
human dignity and justice.
We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths
that all of us are created equal -- is the star that guides us
still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls
and Selma and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and
women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great
mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to
hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is
inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth.
It is now our generation's task to carry on what those pioneers
began, for our journey is not complete until our wives, our
mothers and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts.
Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and
sisters are treated like anyone else under the law, for if we
are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one
another must be equal, as well.
Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced
to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote.
Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to
welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America
as a land of opportunity, until bright young students
and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than
expelled from our country.
Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the
streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia to the quiet lanes
of Newtown, know that they are cared for and cherished
and always safe from harm.
That is our generation's task, to make these works, these
rights, these values of life and liberty and the pursuit
of happiness real for every American.
Being true to our founding documents does not require
us to agree on every contour of life.
It does not mean we all define liberty in exactly the same way
or follow the same precise path to happiness.
Progress does not compel us to settle century's long debates
about the role of government for all time, but it does require us
to act in our time.
For now, decisions are upon us and we cannot afford delay.
We cannot mistake absolutism for principle or substitute
spectacle for politics, or treat name-calling as reasoned debate.
We must act.
We must act knowing that our work will be imperfect.
We must act knowing that today's victories will be only partial,
and that it will be up to those who stand here in four years and
40 years and 400 years hence to advance the timeless spirit
once conferred to us in a spare Philadelphia hall.
My fellow Americans, the oath I have sworn before you today,
like the one recited by others who serve in this Capitol,
was an oath to God and country, not party or faction.
And we must faithfully execute that pledge during the duration
of our service.
But the words I spoke today are not so different from the oath
that is taken each time a soldier signs up for duty,
or an immigrant realizes her dream.
My oath is not so different from the pledge we all make to the
flag that waves above and that fills our hearts with pride.
They are the words of citizens, and they represent
our greatest hope.
You and I, as citizens, have the power to set
this country's course.
You and I, as citizens, have the obligation to shape the debates
of our time, not only with the votes we cast, but the voices
we lift in defense of our most ancient values and
enduring ideals.
Let us each of us now embrace with solemn duty, and awesome
joy, what is our lasting birthright.
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.
Thank you. God bless you.
And may He forever bless these United States of America.
(cheers and applause)
Senator Schumer: At this time, please join me in welcoming award-winning
artist Kelly Clarkson, accompanied by the United
States Marine Band.
United States Marine Band: ♪♪ ("My Country 'Tis of Thee") ♪♪
Kelly Clarkson (singing): ♪ My country 'tis of thee ♪
♪ Sweet land of liberty, ♪
♪ Of thee I sing. ♪
♪ Land where my fathers died. ♪
♪ Land of the Pilgrim's pride. ♪
♪ From every mountain side, ♪
♪ Let freedom ring. ♪
♪ Let music swell the breeze, ♪
♪ And ring from all the trees ♪
♪ Sweet freedom's song. ♪
♪ Let mortal tongues awake; ♪
♪ Let all that breathe partake; ♪
♪ Let rocks their silence break, ♪
♪ The sound prolong. ♪
♪ Our father's God to, Thee, ♪
♪ Author of liberty, ♪
♪ To thee we sing. ♪
♪ Long may our land be bright ♪
♪ With freedom's holy light; ♪
♪ Protect us by Thy might, ♪
♪ Great God, our King! ♪
Senator Schumer: Wow.
Our next distinguished guest is the poet Richard Blanco,
who will share with us words he has composed for this occasion.
Richard Blanco: Mr. President, Mr. Vice President, America, "One Today."
One sun rose on us today, kindled over our shores,
peeking over the Smokies, greeting the faces of the
Great Lakes, spreading a simple truth across the Great Plains,
then charging across the Rockies.
One light, waking up rooftops, under each one, a story told by
our silent gestures moving behind windows.
My face, your face, millions of faces in morning's mirrors,
each one yawning to life, crescendoing into our day --
pencil-yellow school buses, the rhythm of traffic lights,
fruit stands-- apples, limes, and oranges arrayed
like rainbows begging our praise.
Silver trucks heavy with oil or paper -- bricks or milk,
teeming over highways alongside us, on our way to clean tables,
read ledgers, or save lives -- to teach geometry, or ring up
groceries as my mother did for twenty years, so I could write
this poem.
All of us as vital as the one light we move through, the same
light on blackboards with lessons for the day -- equations
to solve, history to question, or atoms imagined, the "I have a
dream" we keep dreaming, or the impossible vocabulary of sorrow
that won't explain the empty desks of twenty children marked
absent today, and forever.
Many prayers, but one light breathing color into stained
glass windows, life into the faces of bronze statues, warmth
onto the steps of our museums and park benches as mothers
watch children slide into the day.
One ground.
Our ground, rooting us to every stalk of corn, every head of
wheat sown by sweat and hands, hands gleaning coal or planting
windmills in deserts and hilltops that keep us warm,
hands digging trenches, routing pipes and cables, hands as worn
as my father's cutting sugarcane so my brother and I could have
books and shoes.
The dust of farms and deserts, cities and plains mingled by
one wind -- our breath.
Hear it through the day's gorgeous din of honking cabs,
buses launching down avenues, the symphony of footsteps,
guitars, and screeching subways, the unexpected song bird on your
clothes line.
Hear: squeaky playground swings, trains whistling, or whispers
across café tables, Hear: the doors we open for each other all
day, saying: hello, shalom, buon giorno, howdy, namaste, or
buenos días in the language my mother taught me -- in every
language spoken into one wind carrying our lives without
prejudice, as these words break from my lips.
One sky: since the Appalachians and Sierras claimed their
majesty, and the Mississippi and Colorado worked their way
to the sea.
Thank the work of our hands: weaving steel into bridges,
finishing one more report for the boss on time, stitching
another wound or uniform, the first brush stroke on
a portrait, or the last floor on the Freedom Tower jutting into a
sky that yields to our resilience.
One sky, toward which we sometimes lift our eyes tired
from work: some days guessing at the weather of our lives, some
days giving thanks for a love that loves you back, sometimes
praising a mother who knew how to give, or forgiving a father
who couldn't give what you wanted.
We head home: through the gloss of rain or weight of snow, or
the plum blush of dusk, but always -- always home,
always under one sky, our sky.
And always one moon like a silent drum tapping on every
rooftop and every window, of one country -- all of us --
facing the stars hope -- a new constellation waiting for us to
map it, waiting for us to name it -- together.
Senator Scumer: Ladies and gentlemen, it is now my privilege to introduce
Reverend Dr. Luis León to deliver the benediction.
Reverend Dr. Luis León: Let us pray:
Gracious and eternal God, as we conclude the
second inauguration of President Obama, we ask for your blessings
as we seek to become, in the words of Martin Luther King,
citizens of a beloved community, loving you and loving our
neighbors as ourselves.
We pray that you will bless us with your continued presence
because without it, hatred and arrogance
will infect our hearts.
But with your blessing we know that we can break down the walls
that separate us.
We pray for your blessing today because without it, distrust,
prejudice and rancor will rule our hearts.
But with the blessing of your presence, we know that we can
renew the ties of mutual regard which can best form
our civic life.
We pray for your blessing because without it suspicion,
despair, and fear of those different from us will be our
rule of life.
But with your blessing, we can see each other created in your
image, a unit of God's grace, unprecedented, irrepeatable
and irreplaceable.
We pray for your blessing because without it,
we will see only what the eye can see.
But with the blessing of your blessing we will see that we are
created in your image, whether brown, black or white, male or
female, first generation or immigrant American, or daughter
of the American Revolution, gay or straight, rich or poor.
We pray for your blessing because without it, we will
only see scarcity in the midst of abundance.
But with your blessing we will recognize the abundance of the
gifts of this good land with which you
have endowed this nation.
We pray for your blessing.
Bless all of us, privileged to be citizens and residents of
this nation, with a spirit of gratitude and humility that we
may become a blessing among the nations of this world.
We pray that you will shower with your life-giving spirit,
the elected leaders of this land, especially Barack our
president and Joe our vice president.
Fill them with a love of truth and righteousness, that they may
serve this nation ably and be glad to do your will.
Endow their hearts with wisdom and forbearance, so that peace
may prevail with righteousness, justice with order, so that men
and women throughout this nation can find with one another the
fulfillment of our humanity.
We pray that the president, vice president and all in political
authority will remember the words of the prophet Micah,
"What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love
kindness and always walk humbly with God?"
Señor Presidente y vicepresidente,
que Dios los bendiga todos los dias.
Mr. President, Mr. Vice President, may God bless
you all your days.
All this we pray, in your most holy name, amen.
Senator Schumer: Ladies and gentlemen, please remain standing for the singing
of our national anthem by award-winning artist, Beyoncé,
accompanied by the U.S. Marine Band.
Following "The National Anthem," please remain at your place
while the Presidential Party exits the platform.
United States Marine Band: ♪♪ ("The National Anthem") ♪♪
Beyoncé Knowles (singing): ♪ Oh, say can you see ♪
♪ by the dawn's early light ♪
♪ What so proudly we hailed ♪
♪ at the twilight's last gleaming? ♪
♪ Whose broad stripes and bright stars ♪
♪ thru the perilous fight, ♪
♪ O'er the ramparts we watched ♪
♪ were so gallantly streaming? ♪
♪ And the rocket's red glare, ♪
♪ the bombs bursting in air, ♪
♪ Gave proof through the night ♪
♪ that our flag was still there. ♪
♪ Oh, say does that star-spangled ♪
♪ banner yet wave ♪
♪ O'er the land of the free ♪
♪ and the home of the brave? ♪
♪ The brave! ♪