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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs