News / USA

Inaugural Activities Start With Call to Serve

First Lady Michelle Obama (R) and Jill Biden (L), wife of Vice President Joe Biden, are seen participating in volunteer activities on a previous National Day of Service (file photo).First Lady Michelle Obama (R) and Jill Biden (L), wife of Vice President Joe Biden, are seen participating in volunteer activities on a previous National Day of Service (file photo).
x
First Lady Michelle Obama (R) and Jill Biden (L), wife of Vice President Joe Biden, are seen participating in volunteer activities on a previous National Day of Service (file photo).
First Lady Michelle Obama (R) and Jill Biden (L), wife of Vice President Joe Biden, are seen participating in volunteer activities on a previous National Day of Service (file photo).
Kent Klein
U.S. President Barack Obama has started several days of festivities surrounding his second inauguration by taking part in a community service project. The president hopes the National Day of Service becomes an inaugural tradition.

Obama and his wife, Michelle, spent part of Saturday painting a bookshelf at an elementary school in Washington. The visit was intended to show support for Americans who volunteer to provide service to their communities.

As the president prepares to be sworn in for a second four-year term, he said he intends to use the occasion to call attention to the many ways Americans help each other.

“This is really what America is about. This is what we celebrate. This inauguration, it is a symbol of how our democracy works and how we peacefully transfer power," said Obama. "But it should also be an affirmation that we are all in this together, and that we have got to look out for each other and work hard on behalf of each other.”

Monday’s public inauguration ceremony coincides with the national holiday honoring the African-American civil rights leader, [Dr.] Martin Luther King, Jr. Obama, the first African-American U.S. president, paraphrased a quote from King in encouraging Americans to be leaders in serving their communities.

“I am always reminded that he [King] said, ‘Everybody wants to be first, everybody wants to be a drum major, but if you are going to be a drum major, be a drum major for service, be a drum major for justice, be a drum major for looking out for other people.’”

The theme of this year’s inauguration ceremonies is “Faith in America’s Future.” First lady Michelle Obama sounded a similar theme in calling on others to help the next generation.  

“We are passing the baton on to you all. So the goal is that as you make your way through life, who are you pulling up behind you? And as long as you are pulling somebody up behind you, you are doing the right thing,” she said.

Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, also took part in a National Day of Service project in Washington on Saturday, packing care kits for members of the military.

Biden said he believes the United States is “on the cusp of doing some really great things.”

Obama launched the first National Day of Service in conjunction with his first inauguration in 2009. He has said his intent is for the event to become a traditional part of inaugural festivities.

The president takes the official oath of office Sunday, in a private ceremony at the White House.  

The U.S. Constitution mandates that presidential terms end at noon on January 20. Because that date this year falls on a Sunday, the traditional American day of rest, the public swearing-in, along with the president’s speech and the inaugural parade, will be held on Monday.

You May Like

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Rod from: Australia
January 20, 2013 5:18 PM
Obama is one of the great Presidents for sure, and everything is set for an awesome inauguration, although a gather it will be more low-key than last time. Read a leaked draft of the President's speech: http://sorrysods.com/obama-inauguration-speech/

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More