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

Hong Kong Democracy Calls Spread to Macau

Macau and Hong Kong are China’s two 'special administrative regions' which gives them a measure of autonomy More

After Nearly 2 Years, Pistorius Remains Elusive

Reporter Anita Powell reflects on her experience covering the Olympic athlete's murder trial More

Kenyan Coastal Town Struggles With Deadly June Attacks

Three months after al-Shabab militants allegedly attacked their town, some Mpeketoni residents are still bitter, question who was really behind the assaults 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.
Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africai
X
Luis Ramirez
September 15, 2014 11:01 PM
President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africa

President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid