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Obama Delivers Address to Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial

Below are President-elect Barack Obama's remarks, as prepared for delivery, to "We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial":

I want to thank all the speakers and performers for reminding us, through song and through words, just what it is that we love about America. And I want to thank all of you for braving the cold and the crowds and traveling in some cases thousands of miles to join us here today. Welcome to Washington, and welcome to this celebration of American renewal.

In the course of our history, only a handful of generations have been asked to confront challenges as serious as the ones we face right now. Our nation is at war. Our economy is in crisis. Millions of Americans are losing their jobs and their homes; they're worried about how they'll afford college for their kids or pay the stack of bills on their kitchen table. And most of all, they are anxious and uncertain about the future - about whether this generation of Americans will be able to pass on what's best about this country to our children and their children.

I won't pretend that meeting any one of these challenges will be easy. It will take more than a month or a year, and it will likely take many. Along the way there will be setbacks and false starts and days that test our fundamental resolve as a nation.

But despite all of this - despite the enormity of the task that lies ahead - I stand here today as hopeful as ever that the United States of America will endure - that the dream of our founders will live on in our time.

What gives me that hope is what I see when I look out across this mall. For in these monuments are chiseled those unlikely stories that affirm our unyielding faith - a faith that anything is possible in America. Rising before us stands a memorial to a man who led a small band of farmers and shopkeepers in revolution against the army of an Empire, all for the sake of an idea. On the ground below is a tribute to a generation that withstood war and depression - men and women like my grandparents who toiled on bomber assembly lines and marched across Europe to free the world from tyranny's grasp. Directly in front of us is a pool that still reflects the dream of a King, and the glory of a people who marched and bled so that their children might be judged by their character's content. And behind me, watching over the union he saved, sits the man who in so many ways made this day possible.

And yet, as I stand here tonight, what gives me the greatest hope of all is not the stone and marble that surrounds us today, but what fills the spaces in between. It is you - Americans of every race and region and station who came here because you believe in what this country can be and because you want to help us get there.

It is the same thing that gave me hope from the day we began this campaign for the presidency nearly two years ago; a belief that if we could just recognize ourselves in one another and bring everyone together - Democrats, Republicans, and Independents; Latino, Asian, and Native American; black and white, gay and straight, disabled and not - then not only would we restore hope and opportunity in places that yearned for both, but maybe, just maybe, we might perfect our union in the process.

This is what I believed, but you made this belief real. You proved once more that people who love this country can change it. And as I prepare to assume the presidency, yours are the voices I will take with me every day I walk into that Oval Office - the voices of men and women who have different stories but hold common hopes; who ask only for what was promised us as Americans - that we might make of our lives what we will and see our children climb higher than we did.

It is this thread that binds us together in common effort; that runs through every memorial on this mall; that connects us to all those who struggled and sacrificed and stood here before.

It is how this nation has overcome the greatest differences and the longest odds - because there is no obstacle that can stand in the way of millions of voices calling for change.

That is the belief with which we began this campaign, and that is how we will overcome what ails us now. There is no doubt that our road will be long. That our climb will be steep. But never forget that the true character of our nation is revealed not during times of comfort and ease, but by the right we do when the moment is hard. I ask you to help me reveal that character once more, and together, we can carry forward as one nation, and one people, the legacy of our forefathers that we celebrate today.

By Web Politics Editor  |  January 18, 2009; 4:19 PM ET
Categories:  Barack Obama , Primary Source  
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Next: Obama Looks Ahead


I've never said that we wouldn't have a new President tomorrow. Unfortunately, Barack Hussein Obama has not seen fit to release his LONG FORM birth certificate to prove that he is qualified under the Constitution. Legally, if Obama is not a "natural born" citizen, then Joseph Robinette Biden is Acting President as of 12 noon.

Posted by: JakeD | January 19, 2009 5:18 PM | Report abuse

For the record, I don't "hate" anyone.

Posted by: JakeD | January 19, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse


Give it a rest. You have posted this nonsense every day for weeks. We WILL have a new President tomorrow, he IS a natural-born citizen of the United States, and there is NO legal issue yet to be resolved. You are just blinded by your hate. A week ago this paper published a totally non-political article about a presidential lunch-stop at Ben's Chili Bowl in D.C., not a shred of politics in it, and there YOU were, right at the top of the comments list, with your silly whining and name-calling. Why? Do you think anyone will be persuaded by your rants? If so, you are delusional. Let it go, man. He won. He's a citizen. Get a life.

Posted by: sailorashore | January 19, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse


He will not be (legally) sworn in.

Posted by: JakeD | January 19, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse

You are cordially invited to:
The People's FREE Online Guest Book to the Inauguration

Posted by: WWWBOOOMCOM | January 19, 2009 10:44 AM | Report abuse

There has always been a Plan for Humanity and Servants of that Plan, dedicated, advanced and Awakened Souls -- who point the way, and who live by and from Reality "that we are One" -- and -- whose mission is to continually hold up that Plan and its implementation, which began so many years ago by our Solar Logos, and implemented by those Great messengers and brothers of Light: the Christ, Buddha, and others (lesser and greater)..... Some attributes of an enlightened Soul are detachment (because attached to an inner source), inclusiveness, forgivenss, intelligence, and a great capacity to love and serve.

Their creed: "I am a messenger of Light. I am a pilgrim on the way of love. I do not walk alone but know myself as one with all great souls, and one with them in service. Their strength is mine. This strength I claim. My strength is theirs and this I freely give. A soul, I walk on earth. I represent the ONE." -- Discipleship in the New Age I, pg. 140

These advanced and awakened or enlightened Souls know that we are one. That we incarnate into the body, the flesh, from that one Source and that when we die or leave that body, we return to the One Source, which each thread of living, lighted, loving Soul originates from (for the blood is the life, and all blood is one colour, red). And to that they are dedicated -- to that conscious knowing and thereby living on earth. This is important as we enter into the Age of Aquarius, the Age of Brotherhood and Enlightment!

Posted by: dsoulplane | January 19, 2009 8:18 AM | Report abuse

Because President Elect Obama has chosen Abraham Lincoln as a model, I will offer up some of Lincoln's words. Not that I expect the crass postings to stop but, for the thought that the time for crassness and partisanship are over.

"let us bind up the wounds of the Nation"

If you don't believe that our current situation is dire. (two wars/financial chaos)then you are not old enough to have had parents that went through the so called great depression.

In closing let me lay some Bob Dylan on you. This is also probably older than a lot of you but, the words ring true today. "Please get out of the new one if you can't lend a hand",

Posted by: Thatsnuts | January 19, 2009 8:09 AM | Report abuse

This country can now look forward to a government with positive attitudes. In the face of this, why do we still read such hatred-filled comments showing a seething twisted clinging to the negative? Let us look ahead and not wallow in the mire of the last eight years.

Posted by: mproctor3 | January 18, 2009 9:25 PM | Report abuse

Great words from Barack Obama! Just a few comments on some comments. It seems like everybody here is just saying something just to say it, without any real meaning behind there words. Someone's being cynical while talking about cynicism in the future: quite an assumption! Someone else is throwing around names involved in "corruption" as if Obama's inauguration has anything to do with corruption. Another person just feels like putting down the losing party! Exactly what Obama preaches, right? Guess what? I'm a Dem too, but what good is that comment, or any other comment posted?

Posted by: cuffm5 | January 18, 2009 8:45 PM | Report abuse


Some of you dolts are gonna need therapy and medication over the next 8 years!

Barack HUSSEIN Obama, the too black, not black enough guy, the terrorist, friend of terrorists, the not a natural born citizen, the disciple of Rev. Wright, the 'librul', socialist, marxist, leninist, anarchist. reader of Malcolm X, the "community organizer", the inexperienced husband of that angry black woman Michelle, will be sworn in as PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA day after tomorrow.

Suck it up and deal with it.


Posted by: toritto | January 18, 2009 7:02 PM | Report abuse

The stench of corruption hangs low over the Obama transition as Richardson and Clinton and Emmanuel and Dodd and Rangel and Blago and Holder are pulled into the vortex. Soon trillions of federal dollars will be splooged into the nimble old hands of these appointed kleptocrats.

Posted by: georgejones5 | January 18, 2009 6:22 PM | Report abuse

"In the course of our history, only a handful of generations have been asked to confront challenges as serious as the ones we face right now."

Talk about lacking a sense of history. Does BHO really imagine we're at a point equivalent to 1783, 1814, 1850, 1864, 1884, 1918, 1931, 1952, 1963, 1968, 1973? This kind of BS is just not honest. I'm getting nervous about this administration. We don't need a spin factory in the White House.

I sense we're entering a new era of hype, when the Earth won't begin to heal, but we'll talk about it endlessly, and we will find new reasons for cynicism.

Posted by: raskolnik | January 18, 2009 6:11 PM | Report abuse

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