Despite the late hour and hubby having to go to work this morning, we stayed up to watch the inauguration of Barrack Hussein Obama as the 44th President of the United States.
Millions of people braved the cold and turned up to cheer him and to celebrate the occassion, and as the time drew near for the swearing-in, I could feel the excitement and anticipation building as chants of "O-ba-ma....O-ba-ma" rang out.
And then, the moment to take the Oath of Office arrived. Looking suave and handsome in a black suit, white shirt and red tie, the President-elect stood up, raised one hand, and placed his other hand on the red bible that was used to swear in President Abraham Lincoln in 1861. I was surprised to note that the bible was still in pristine condition. I guessed it was kept in a museum until yesterday? :)
During the Oath of Office, there were some "oops" as the President-elect and Supreme Court Justice John Roberts talked on top of each other, got their words fumbled and there were a couple of awkward pauses.
Justice Roberts said, "I, Barrack Hussein Obama, do solemly swear (pause) that I will execute the office of the President of the United States faithfully."
The Oath is supposed to be, "I, Barrack Hussein Obama, do solemly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of the President of the United States."
The President-elect followed Roberts for a few words before realizing that the word "faithfully" was in the wrong place. Cool as a cucumber, he stopped (but you could see he was restraining himself from laughing) and nodded in a regal way, like as if saying "try again". After that, he tried to say the words ahead of Justice Roberts to get him back on track.
But what really got me cheering loudly, and forgetting that I'm not an American, nor am I living in America, was his rousing, bold and powerful speech after he was introduced as the President of the United States. He gave a call for action, calling upon Americans to pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and remake America. It was unifying, and it was rallying. I found myself nodding in approval.
He had some words for Muslim countries: "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 society's 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."
He also had words of warning for enemies of America: "We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you."
I hope his mission to reverse all the damages done by the Bush administration will not be opposed by the Congress. A President, after all, has no real power if he's not backed and supported by the Senate.