After being sworn in as the 44th President of the United States yesterday, President Barack Obama delivered his inaugural address, echoing the themes of change and hope that characterized his campaign.

“On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord,” Obama said.

Lasting a succinct 18 minutes and 20 seconds, Obama’s speech emphasized the challenges America faces, as well as his hope for the future.

“Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace … Every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because we the people have remained faithful to the ideals of our forebears, and true to our founding documents,” he said.

While he admitted that the nation is in crisis, Obama insisted that America would overcome its problems.

“Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real,” he said. “They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America – they will be met.We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort — even greater cooperation and understanding between nations” he said.

Obama spoke to those who doubted the country’s ability to overcome these challenges, and said that, first and foremost, the old lines separating Democrats and Republicans must be dissolved.

“The stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works,” he said.

Obama also addressed the country’s relationship with the Middle East the Islamic world.

“To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their societies’ ills on the West – know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history, but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.”

President Obama concluded his speech with a message of hope, calling on individual Americans to do their part in fighting the battles facing the nation.

“With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children’s children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God’s grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations,” he said.

Obama’s speech garnered loud applause and cheers along the National Mall, with many shouting “Yes we can” and “Oh-bam-a” in unison.

Reverend Rick Warren gave the invocation during the ceremony, emphasizing the historic nature of the inauguration of the nation’s first African-American president.

“We are so grateful to live in this land, a land of unequaled possibility, where the son of an African immigrant can rise to the highest level of our leadership,” he said. “And we know today that Dr. King and a great cloud of witnesses are shouting in Heaven.”

After Associate Justice John Paul Stevens swore in Vice President Joe Biden, Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States by Chief Justice John Roberts John Roberts using Abraham Lincoln’s inaugural bible. Although Roberts struggled with the oath at times, slightly altering the order of the words, Obama swore the oath of office just after noon on Tuesday, and then delivered into his inaugural address.

Georgetown students gathered at the event said this inauguration was unforgettable.

“Despite the freezing weather, the long hours of waiting, and the massive crowds, today was one of the greatest memories of my life so far,” Julie Patterson (COL ’12) said. “I am proud to have shared in this moment with America.”

“I liked the whole speech, and I thought it was spectacular. There were parts of it that gave me shivers just to be there so close to all of it,” said Becky Kissel (SFS ’12).

Nearly 2 million people gathered on the National Mall yesterday, filling it to capacity just after 9 a.m. At that time, inauguration officials were forced to close the Mall, leaving thousands, of people, some of whom were ticket-holders, unable to join the crowds outside the Capitol.

Patricia Kehoe (SFS ’12) was among those who couldn’t make it into the Mall.

“I was one of thousands of ticket holders turned away from my assigned gate after waiting in line for over four hours. I’m disappointed to have missed the actual inauguration, but I still feel like I was a part of history today,” she said.

Check out The Hoya’s city blog, Outside the Gates, for more Inauguration recaps and student experiences.

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