By Reneé Ruwe
WASHINGTON, D.C. - On Monday, January 21, 2013, 44th President Barack Obama celebrated his Inauguration. The Inaugural theme was "Our People, Our Future."
People from all over the United States joined together in attending the many special events that were held over the weekend. The Inauguration is about bringing Americans together to celebrate our shared purpose. This inauguration had a special twist - it coincided with Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
The events kicked off at the National Mall where people from across the nation came to participate in service projects. This new tradition started in 2009 when President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama created the National Day of Service in honor of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Members of the King family also took part in the events. Additionally, a float in the Inaugural parade paid tribute to Dr. King’s enduring legacy.
Maneuvering through Washington, D.C. to get to the Inauguration was no easy task. The subways and streets were packed full of people; numerous streets were blocked off and there were long lines with many security check points along the way. Despite there being over 800,000 people, everything was kept very organized and safe. Skies were clear with temperatures in the 50s.
The Inaugural ceremony included a moving Invocation recited by Myrlie Evers-Williams, as well as Vice President Joseph Biden’s oath of office, which was followed by James Taylor singing "America the Beautiful."
President Obama was then sworn in using two Bibles. One Bible was used at his first Inauguration in 2009 from President Abraham Lincoln, as well as a second bible used by Dr. King.
Grammy-winning singer Kelly Clarkson sang, "My Country ‘Tis Of Thee," and pop star Beyoncé ended the ceremony with a rendition of the national anthem.
A spectacular parade followed down Pennsylvania Avenue and on to the evening’s events consisting of two Inaugural Balls held in the Washington Convention Center. Alicia Keys opened up the festivities, followed by many other artists and celebrities including will.i.am of The Black Eyed Peas. Stevie Wonder made a spectacular appearance, singing a number of his hits including a rendition of "Happy Birthday." The highlight of the evening was the President and First Lady’s spotlight dance to Jennifer Hudson singing a version of Al Green’s "Lets Stay Together."