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

Analyst: Joint-Arab Military Force Poses Perilous Challenge

Although international forces are desperately needed to counter the threat of the Islamic State group, analysts say conflicting alliances could escalate fighting More

Asia’s Middle Class Changes Demand for Wheat Grain Exporters

Changes in tastes and diets are boon for wheat exporters such as Australia and the United States More

S. African Comedian Taking Over Popular TV Show

Mixed-race comedian Trevor Noah, who is loved for his edgy jibes about race and language, is taking the helm from Jon Stewart at The Daily Show in US 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.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
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 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.

VOA Blogs

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