President Barack Obama's second inauguration speech took on historic overtones as he presented it on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Washington D.C. on Monday. Many who visited the Capitol to see the 44th president sworn into office stopped by the King memorial to pay tribute on the way. Waves of emotion washed over the crowd at various times during Obama's Inaugural address.
Racial and gender equality were among the themes.
"While freedom is a gift from God, it must be secured by his people here on Earth," Obama said, noting that "...We learned that no union founded on the principles of liberty and equality could survive half-slave & half-free...If we are truly created equal then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well... Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law...Our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers, and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts."
While the president set a goal of more economic opportunity and equity for the less wealthy—"We cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it"—he also encouraged individual responsibility in general—"..nor have we succumbed to the fiction that all society’s ills can be cured through government alone."
Obama called for the United States to be a world leader in addressing climate change and developing renewable energy resources.
He adopted the Constitutional phrase, "We the People" to drive home some points: "We, the people, still believe that enduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war."
"A decade of war is now ending. An economic recovery has begun. America's possibilities are limitless," he said.
To see video of the Inauguration, click here to go to full NBC News coverage.
Let's use the president's speech to start a conversation about the work ahead of the United States as we go into 2013 and about how much has (or hasn't) been accomplished so far. Please tell us in the comments section below.