WELCOME MR. PRESIDENT
Washington D.C., under massive security, had a massive crowd converge this morning awaiting the inauguration of the 44th president of the United States of America, Barack Obama. Meanwhile, following a long standing tradition for president elects, Mr. Obama attended a private service at St. John's Episcopal
Church with his family and Vice-President Joe Biden.
He and Michelle, along with the Biden's and other officials had Coffee, in the blue room, with George & Laura Bush this morning. Upon arriving, for the first time ever from an incoming presidential family, the Obama's presented Mrs. Bush with a gift. It is reported to be a journal and pen for the upcoming memoir she is writing.
The Bush, Obama, Biden & Chainey couples departed the white house for the ride to the capital. The ceremony ran late. Rick Warren gave the invocation; followed by Aretha Franklin singing "My country, 'tis of thee" A.K.A America; followed by the swearing in of Joe Biden; then a stirring performance of "Air and Simple Gifts" by Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, Anthony McGill & Gabriela Montero and finally the swearing in of the 44th President of the United States of America, Barack H. Obama. The white-house website was changed to reflect President Obama as president of the United States, but he actually took the oath of office at 12:06PM EST.
The oath was taken on the same bible that Abraham Lincoln took his oath on. This is the first time an incoming president has used Lincoln's bible. The tiny bible is encased in a fireproof, waterproof container and was carried into the ceremony by First Lady Michelle Obama.
The Library of congress asked that the bible not be opened because it is so fragile. (The tiny bible was actually purchased at the last minute for Lincoln because his family's bible did not arrive on time for his swearing in.)
Following the official swearing in Barack Obama delivered his speech which called for all Americans to look back and embrace their history. Then unite and move forward to solve the many problems that are at hand. "The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation; the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free and all deserve ta chance to pursue their full measure of happiness." The occasion was closed out with Rev Lowery's moving benediction.
After seeing the Bush Family off, President Obama went into the President's room in the capital to sign some immediate orders regarding cabinet nominees and interim agency heads, continuity of government, etc. to keep the country running . Then on to a private lunch. (The one draw back, Sen. Ted Kennedy, possibly due to his brain tumor was sent to the hospital because he had a seizure during the lunch. His good friend Sen. Robert Byrd also left the luncheon due to stress over Sen. Kennedy's incident.)
Finally on to the parade in his new vehicle. (One of a fleet of four.) The Cadillac is always available to the president, even when he travels outside D.C. The President and First Lady got out (between 7th and 8th) and walked down Pennsylvania Ave., and waved at the massive crowds. Meanwhile the senate reconvened to approve several of Mr. Obama's nominees.
During the festivities the white house staff rids the white house of the balance of the Bush touches (most of their belonging except President Bush's grandmothers chest-of-drawers had been previously removed) and apply the Obama touches. Even the children's toys will be perfectly placed in their toy chests.
Over the weeks leading up to today's inauguration. Mr. Obama has been working closely with Mr. Bush and his team to have a smooth transition. He even had a meeting with the exclusive "Ex-Presidents" to assist him with ideas as prior to assuming the position.
The President & First Lady attended 10 Balls tonight including two hosted by the first couple. Let's hope that once the parting is over, now that "change" has arrived in Washington, we can start to see less finger pointing and more work done by the government.
Departing President Bush, escorted by President Obama, to an awaiting helicopter executive 1 (known as Marine 1 when the president is on board) that took the departing Bush to an awaiting press conference at Andrews Air force base. Then onto the familiar blue and white aircraft "Special Air Mission 2800 (normally called air-force 1 because air-force 1 only carries presidents. The plane will deliver Mr. Bush, family and friends to Midland Texas. Once there he will address a crowd in ceremonial square the same place he made an address 8 years ago. He then continues on to Crawford where he will remain a few days before moving into his new home in Dallas. Prior to departing the white house Mr. Bush followed a long standing tradition of leaving a private note in the desk for President Obama. We are all assuming that it states the same things that he stated to him on election night. President Bush's staff gift to him. The first flag that flew over the Capitol on his first day in office in 2001 and the flag that flew on 1/19/09.
Check back for daily post through 1/28/09
Until next time, when we can chit-chat again!
(c) All photos from the A.P.