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

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license 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.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid