I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.
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. Yet, 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.
So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans."
President Barack Obama
I had not expected this speech. This was a workman's speech, the speech of a man impatient to get on with the serious business of the Republic. It was bony, filled with policy statements and demands for sacrifice and seriousness of purpose. He is a serious man. It would have been oh so easy for someone of his literary skill to have crafted a speech that would have sung to the ages. I expected that, something like the seductive words of the poet president he so admires. Instead, we received a manifesto that rejected the attitudes and policies of the Bush era, and insisted that the United States must redeem and save itself through hard work and a rededication to "our founding documents."
Hail to the Chief!