Obama steps into history with oath of office

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The nation rolled back a storm cloud of racial injustice today, as at least one dream deferred was finally fulfilled. Shortly after noon, on the steps of the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., Barack Hussein Obama took the oath of office and officially

The nation rolled back a storm cloud of racial injustice today, as at least one dream deferred was finally fulfilled.

Shortly after noon, on the steps of the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., Barack Hussein Obama took the oath of office and officially became the 44th president and the first Black man to be elected.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. administered the oath as Obama’s wife, Michelle, and bubbly daughters, Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, looked on.

Under the cover of darkness, in the cold pre-dawn morning of this historic day, droves of people who converged on the nation’s capital from all around the U.S. and the globe, and made their way to the National Mall to witness the swearing in.

White-haired women. Disabled men. Generations of mothers. Fathers and their sons.

They were of various nationalities, economic status, social backgrounds and education levels.

They all hastened past AK-47-armed police and bounded down barricaded streets. Many made their way through metal detectors, and most of them had no official ticket to the inauguration ceremony.

But they shared a common thread: their faith in and support for Barack Obama.

By the time a resolute Obama, walking tall, chin up and his head held high emerged on the stage, an estimated one million-plus people filled the area from the steps of the Capitol Building, down the Mall and more than a mile back to the Washington Monument.

It was an incredible sight and moment the nation won’t soon forget.

This time, the sea of people consuming the Mall was not there for protest but for a celebration.

As cameras panned the multitude, Black faces were visible with tears of joy flowing uninhibited. White faces beamed with a glow of reconciliation. And brown faces were brimming with pride.

Together, they cheered and chanted in unity, rallying around the nation’s new leader who has promised “change America needs.”

In his poignant inaugural address, President Obama took hold to the reigns of leadership of the free world, vowing to address the economic chokehold the nation is in domestically and to redress the nation’s global reputation.

“The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act,” he said to a symphony of applause and cheers.

Obama, who was dogged on the campaign trail for being short on foreign policy experience and relations, sent a stern and salient message to terror mongers.

“As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. 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.”

Obama delivered his history-making speech behind a podium that included a bullet-proof glass encasing, under the watchful eye of rooftop snipers and formidable security, with five American flag banners hanging from the building and the stage accented in red, white and blue bunting.

After giving his word that political pettiness and childishness would be squashed in his administration, he committed to putting his executive hand to the plow to get the nation moving forward.

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Copyright 2009 Chicago Defender. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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