New Year brings Obama’s 2nd inauguration

The public ceremony of the 57th Presidential Inauguration on Jan. 21 will mark President Barack Obama’s second term in office. The ceremonies will air live from Washington D.C. on multiple channels.

The theme of this year’s inauguration, which will take place on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, is “Faith in America’s Future.”

Obama will add his own unique touch as he takes the oath of office. He’ll place his hand on two bibles — one that belonged to President Abraham Lincoln, which Obama also used in his 2009 Inauguration and hadn’t been used since Lincoln himself in 1861, and one that belonged to Martin Luther King Jr.

Obama’s first inauguration was famed for several reasons.  Obama was the first African-American President in the history of the U.S. to be inaugurated and first Hawaiian born president.  His first inauguration had not only had the largest attendance of any presidential inauguration in history, but it also set a new record for largest attendance of any event in the capital’s history.  Its coverage also set records in television viewership and Internet traffic.

The inauguration week’s activities will begin with the National Day of Service on Jan. 19, in which Obama will participate and encourage Americans to volunteer in their communities or organize service projects.  Service day also commemorates the ideals of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

King once said, “An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”

The Inaugural Parade on Jan. 21 will feature the Chinese-American Community Center Folk Dance Troupe, Honolulu’s Kamehameha Schools Warrior Marching Band, people and dogs of Canine Companions for Independence marching, marchers from the Lesbian and Gay Band Association, the South Shore Drill Team of Chicago, and many other groups.

Beyoncè Knowles will sing the national anthem at the public ceremony. Kelly Clarkson and James Taylor will also perform.  Clarkson will sing “My Country Tis of Thee”, while Taylor will perform “American the Beautiful.”

In a statement, Obama said these artists’ music “is often at the heart of the American story and speaks to folks across the country.”

Jan. 21 will commence with a morning worship service at the Washington National Cathedral.  Although attendance is invitation-only, it will be webcast live on  nationalcathedral.org.

President Obama will deliver his inaugural address after the worship service.

The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, composed of six members, is in charge of planning all inaugural activities.  This year, those members are Chairman Charles E. Schumer, Speaker of the House John A. Boehner, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senator Lamar Alexander.

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