Barack Obama sworn in as U.S. president, calls for
'remaking of America'
need to embrace a "new era of responsibility" to
remake the United States in the face of military, economic and
domestic challenges, U.S. President Barack Obama said Tuesday in
his inauguration address.
"Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves
off, and begin again the work of remaking America," said Obama,
who spoke before more than one million people crowded into Washington's
National Mall, a park that stretches from the Lincoln Memorial
to the Capitol.
Obama made the historic address shortly after he held his right
hand in the air and placed his left hand on Abraham Lincoln's inaugural
Bible to take the oath of office and become the first black president
of the United States.
"What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility — a
recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties
to ourselves, our nation, and the world," he said. "Duties
that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm
in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit,
so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult
task. This is the price and the promise of citizenship."
Obama, a Democrat
who succeeded Republican George W. Bush as president, acknowledged
his oath was administered "amidst gathering clouds
and raging storms" — an economy in crisis, costly health
care, a faltering school system and environmental threats.
"That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood," said
Obama. "The challenges we face are real.
"But know this America — they will be met," he
said, drawing a massive cheer from the crowd.
Obama vowed to rebuild infrastructure, invest in scientific research,
improve health care and find new sources of energy.
"Those who manage the public's dollars will be held to account," he
issued a blunt warning to those who threaten the United States: "We
will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in
its defence, and for those who seek to advance their
aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you
now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot
outlast us, and we will defeat you."