News

    Massive Crowds Gather for Obama Inauguration

    Hundreds of thousands of people have gathered on Washington's national mall for the inauguration of Barack Obama as America's 44th president.  The crowd is expected to swell to an estimated one to two million looking on as Mr. Obama becomes the first African-American to take the presidential oath of office.

    As daylight broke over Washington, tens of thousands had already packed the vast mall stretching out from the U.S. Capitol building where Barack Obama will take the oath of office.

    Beginning in the early hours, Washington's subway system was crammed with people making their way into the city to observe the inauguration.

    One woman from Pennsylvania said she was overwhelmed to be taking part in the historic event.

    "I could not be happier or more proud," she said.  "I am an 81-year-old black lady who has seen an awful lot in my lifetime.   And never, in all of my years, did I think that this day would come, and one of us would be in the White House, doing more than taking care of someone."

    President-elect Obama and his wife Michelle left Blair House to attend St. John's Episcopal Church early in the day where they participated in a brief service attended by family and friends.

    Then the Obamas went to the White House for a brief visit with soon-to-be former President George W. Bush and his wife Laura, before heading to the Capitol, where the oath of office is administered.

    Later, the traditional inaugural parade will wind its way through central Washington, as then President Obama makes his way to the White House to assume office.

    Among the hundreds of thousands of people jamming the national mall was Byron Miller and his family visiting from San Antonio, Texas.

    He says Barack Obama's journey to the presidency is a feat for all Americans to savor, but one that holds special meaning for those who descended from slaves.

    "We have gone from emancipation [from slavery] to inauguration.  My emotions run from exuberance to just [being] excited," Miller said.

    In events leading up to the historic occasion, Mr. Obama hosted a dinner for another African-American trailblazer - retired General and former Secretary of State Colin Powell.

    Reflecting his hope to be able to change the tone of politics in Washington and usher in a new era of bipartisanship, Mr. Obama also hosted a dinner for Senator John McCain, who he defeated in the November election.

    Mr. Obama is expected to use his inaugural address to reassure Americans amid the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s, and also urge them to greater public and national service.

    During a visit to a Washington shelter for homeless youth, Mr. Obama said Americans need to adopt a long-term attitude of serving others and their country.

    "If we are waiting for someone else to do something, it never gets done, we are going to have to take responsibility [for our nation's well-being]. All of us," Mr. Obama said.  "And so this is not just a one-day affair."

    His speech is also expected to pay tribute to the slain civil rights leader Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., without whose life's work and sacrifice Mr. Obama's rise to power might not have been possible.   

    After the ceremony, Mr. Obama attends a luncheon with members of Congress in the U.S. Capitol before heading down Pennsylvania Avenue as part of the traditional inaugural parade.

    But the transition from the Bush administration to the Obama administration will already be underway even before Mr. Obama arrives at the White House.

    About 20 officials who will serve the new president will leave the Capitol immediately to take up their responsibilities and prepare for a busy first day of the new Obama administration. 


    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.
    Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeasti
    X
    June 29, 2016 6:15 PM
    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    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 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.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora