News

    Obama Pays Tribute to Martin Luther King on Eve of Inauguration

    U.S. President-elect Barack Obama, on the eve of his inauguration, is paying tribute to the late civil rights leader Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.  Mr. Obama also used the day to urge Americans to become involved in community service.

    Mr. Obama helped paint walls at a shelter for homeless teenagers and had lunch with volunteers supporting American troops at home and overseas on Monday.

    The president-elect also visited injured military veterans who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Mr. Obama's inauguration, coming the day after Monday's federal holiday honoring Martin Luther King, Jr., adds to the deep symbolism of the first African American to be sworn in as President of the United States.

    The president-elect, joined by his wife Michelle, thanked volunteers and said such service is an appropriate way to remember the legacy of Reverend King.

    "It is fitting that all of you and hundreds of thousands, maybe more than a million people through 11,000 service projects all across the country, today commemorated Dr. King and got involved in this process of remaking America," said Barack Obama.

    The 47-year-old president-elect is the son of a black Kenyan father and a white American mother. He grew up in Hawaii and Indonesia.

    Mr. Obama will be sworn in as the nation's 44th president on the steps of the U.S. Capitol and will deliver a much-anticipated inaugural address.

    He joked about saving his best lines for Tuesday's ceremony and then seemed to hint at what are expected to be some major themes and goals of his presidency.

    "I am making a commitment to you as your next president that we are going to make government work," said Mr. Obama. "[Applause and Cheers] We are going to make sure that government is listening to you and focused on you, making sure that people have health care, kids can go to college and people can pay their bills and folks are able to stay in their homes and get good jobs that pay a living wage. That is my job."

    Mr. Obama says all Americans must take responsibility for improving their communities and pledged that he and his family will continue working on service projects after he becomes president.

    Excitement is already building in Washington and officials are expecting as many as two million people to arrive on the National Mall to witness Mr. Obama's inauguration.

    African American Vanessa Wiltz, from Houston, Texas, had tears in her eyes as she described coming to Washington to, as she put it, "soak up history".  

    "I just think about my grandmother, and I think about how far we have come as a country and how amazing it is to be here as Americans," said Vanessa Wiltz. "This is awesome. It really is."

    Vanessa's sister, Jeneda Wiltz, says she believes the country will unite behind President-elect Obama.

    "We are out here witnessing a big step for the citizens of the United States," she said. "We are finally united, not by color, but by people. What our forefathers have fought for so long has finally come to truth."

    All around Washington, final preparations are underway for the inauguration and security is expected to be very tight.  Parties, balls and other celebrations will follow Mr. Obama's oath-taking and the inaugural parade.  

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roari
    X
    June 28, 2016 10:33 AM
    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora