Although President Barack Obama was sworn into office Sunday during a private ceremony, the 56th Inauguration took place on Capitol Hill and was broadcasted for all of America to watch today.
Those of us who watched, witnessed history. Our first African-American president was sworn into office for his second term. According to an article on MTV, the events also marked the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and the placement of the Statue of Freedom on top of the Capitol dome in 1863. But, the most groundbreaking history occurred when President Obama openly addressed gay rights in his own speech.
“Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well,” said Obama in his Inauguration Address.
Obama also told America that the times are changing, and we need to change with it. He said that we are facing new challenges, and we must work together as a nation to overcome them.
“No single person can train all the math and science teachers we’ll need to equip our children for the future,” said Obama. “Now, more than ever, we must do these things together, as one nation, and one people.”
Marina Antonucci, a junior at the University of Michigan studying Psychology and Sociology watched the president’s speech on television.
“I thought the speech was powerful and sent a great message; change is a group effort, and it cannot be done alone,” said Antonucci.
When asked if we will see a change during the next four years, Antonucci was not as positive as Barack Obama. “Honestly, with the House and Senate divided, I think big differences will be hard to come by. Although I definitely think they’re necessary.”
Many topics were discussed during the ceremony, health care being one. Obama said that the citizens of our country deserve “security and dignity.” He said we have to reduce the cost of health care, but also reduce our country’s deficit. Obama said that here, in America, we do not believe that freedom is for the “lucky.” He said we all deserve to have the security of health care, and should have support if we lose a job, become ill or experience a natural disaster that could leave us homeless and starving.
“The commitments we make to each other – through Medicare, and Medicaid, and Social Security – these things do not sap our initiative; they strengthen us. They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great.”
Kelsey Cash, a senior Education major at Lake Superior State University, believes we will see these changes during Obama’s second term. Cash said America will see an improvement and continuation of the changes that he has already made.
“I hope, in the next four years, that Obama will continue to strengthen and improve our healthcare system along with focusing on the financial needs of college students,” said Cash.
Following President Obama’s speech, we saw a performance by James Taylor, and Kelly Clarkson performed “My Country ‘Tis of Thee.” We heard a poem from Richard Blanco, and of course, the ceremony would not be complete without Beyonce singing the national anthem.
As the ceremony ended, people were getting up from their seats and heading to the next event of the day. Michelle Obama, along with many other members on stage, started to walk off the platform. America watched President Obama slow down, stop, and turn around right before he left the stage to take in this moment and the history that has been made.
“I want to take a look one more time,” President Barack Obama said. “I’m not going to see this again.”