President Barack Obama was officially sworn into his second term Monday at the White House before a crowd of more than 800,000.
Obama was sworn in by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., using both the Lincoln Bible and one that once belonged to Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
Standing aside, Obama observed the importance of the day.
“I want to take a look one more time; I’m not going to see this again,” Obama said to those standing beside him.
Obama recommitted himself to applying Constitutional principles in a modern context in his 19-minute inaugural address.
“But we have always understood that when times change, so must we; that fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges; that preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action,” said Obama of the American mindset that is necessary for success during the next four years and in the future.
Obama called for national unity in the pursuit of progress.
“This generation of Americans has been tested by crises that steeled our resolve and proved our resilience,” the president said. “A decade of war is now ending. An economic recovery has begun. America’s possibilities are limitless. For we possess all the qualities that this world without boundaries demands: youth and drive; diversity and openness; an endless capacity for risk and a gift for reinvention.
“My fellow Americans, we are made for this moment, and we will seize it — so long as we seize it together.”
Obama echoed his longtime commitment to the advancement of equality, emphasizing that Americans are “equal, not just in the eyes of God, but also in our own.”
“We do not believe that in this country freedom is reserved for the lucky, or happiness for the few,” the president said. “We, the people, still believe that our obligations as Americans are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity.
“We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths — that all of us are created equal –- is the star that guides us still.”
University of Mississippi students Adam Blackwell, public policy junior, and Courtney Pearson, English education senior, attended the inauguration.
“Pearson called Senator Wicker’s office, and we got tickets from there,” Blackwell said.
Blackwell emphasized the motivational quality of the inauguration.
“It was very inspiring to be in this place with so many people from so many different backgrounds, and yet we all came together in unity to support our country and our president,” he said.
Pearson reflected on the day’s significance for her.
“It was an honor to be there and was especially important for me because it follows my first time voting in a presidential election,” she said.
Acknowledging that the inauguration took place on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Blackwell said, “Dr. King fought for providing voting rights to all Americans, and today we were together to celebrate the product of democracy on a very important day.”