Experiencing History: Obama’s Second Inaugural (Summer 2013)

By Katie Curran, Class of 2016 – East
Originally published in Sturgis StormWatch 07 Feb 2013. Reprinted here with permission of the author.

On January 21, 2013, I stood outside the doors of the gleaming Capitol Building eager to witness the 57th Presidential Inauguration of Barack Obama. Roughly 1 million people were making their way to the National Mall to experience history.

Obama's Inauguration

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts administers the oath of office to President Barack Obama during the official swearing-in ceremony in the Blue Room of the White House on Inauguration Day, Sunday, Jan. 20, 2013. First Lady Michelle Obama, holding the Robinson family Bible, and daughters Malia and Sasha stand with the President.
(Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

While many teens ask to go shopping with their friends for their 15th birthday, I asked for something very different: and that was to attend the Inauguration. When I asked my parents in early January if we could go, it seemed like an impossible dream.  The logistics weren’t in my favor. However, my parents knew how much I loved politics and how one day I want to be President, and so they made it possible. My father and I planned on going, but we didn’t have any special tickets. It wasn’t until my mother got in touch with Senator Elizabeth Warren’s office; they gave us tickets to the spectacular event.

The Inauguration theme was “Faith in America’s Future” in correlation with the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s famous Emancipation Proclamation and the completion of the Capitol Dome in 1863.  Obama’s words of “Moving Forward” were echoing in the crowd, as these were the remarks he used in the final months of his re-election campaign.

A variety of events was held throughout the weekend including the actual ceremony, a National Day of Community Service. inaugural balls, a prayer service, and an Inaugural Parade. For only 7th time in history, the Inauguration was held on Monday, January 21, in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.’s fight for equality.

Some prominent political figures and celebrities attended. The crowd roared as the Clintons and our Massachusetts senators arrived. Beyoncé, Kelly Clarkson and James Taylor performed. Millions around the world came together to watch Barack Obama’s Inaugural Address. He proclaimed that “While freedom is a gift from God, it must be secured by His people here on Earth.” The President called for unity in our nation. He stated his goals over the next four years were to create laws to fix global warming, to change immigration laws, and to tighten gun control. The President explained his goal for the nation to move forward and to level the playing field even more for our civil rights. He honored King with the progress that has been made in our nation and the hope of what can be done in the future. He stated that as a nation, “No one has a greater stake in a peaceful world than its most powerful nation”. His inspirational speech left the country united and hopeful.
The day ended with an Inaugural Parade. The feeling of patriotism rang through the entire Capitol.  Barack Obama’s Second Inauguration was a definite part of history. I’m proud to have experienced it and will never forget it.

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