Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 30 July 2015

Obama's inaugural speech: full transcript

Published 20/01/2009 | 17:10

Shaine Martin of New Orleans, La., is photographed as she waits on National Mall for the inauguration of  President-elect Barack Obama in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Shaine Martin of New Orleans, La., is photographed as she waits on National Mall for the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Bxoning promoter Don King holds up his flags before the inauguration ceremony at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Jeff Christensen)
Das Stoked of Providence, R. I., waves a flag with the image of President-elect Barack Obama on the National Mall looking towards the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
President Bush, right, walks out with President-elect Barack Obama, left, on the North Portico of the White House before sharing the Presidential limousine enroute to Capitol Hill for the inauguration of the President-elect in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009.(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Bundled people pack the National Mall for the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., right, arrives at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009, for the swearing-in of President-elect Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
Shareef Harrison, 9, left, and Cheryl Odom, right, show off their decorated flags during an inauguration ceremony at the Harlem Armory Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009 in New York prior to the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Actors Samuel L. Jackson, right, and Dustin Hoffman greet each other as they arrive for the inauguration ceremonyat the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Jeff Christensen)
This undated image provided by UKFineArts Tuesday Jan. 20 2009, shows a micro sculpture by Willard Wigan showing U.S, President elect Barrack Obama and his family in the eye of a needle. Barack Obama will be inaugurated as the 44th U.S. president in Washington on Tuesday. (AP Photo/ UKFineArts,HO) ** NO SALES EDITORIAL USE ONLY **
U.S. Sen John McCain, R-Ariz., finds his seat as he arrives for the inauguration ceremony at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Retired Gen. Colin Powell, left, and Elie Wiesel stand on the inaugural stage ahead of the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States of America on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009, in Washington. (AP Photo/Win McNamee, Pool)
Jay-Z and Beyonce try to find their seats as they arrive for the inauguration ceremony at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Shareef Harrison, 9, left, and Cheryl Odom, right, show off their decorated flags during an inauguration ceremony at the Harlem Armory Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009 in New York. Thousands are gathering to celebrate the inauguration of U.S. President-elect Barack Obama. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
President Bush, right, walks out with President-elect Barack Obama, left, on the North Portico of the White House before sharing the Presidential limousine enroute to Capitol Hill for the inauguration of the President-elect in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Shaine Martin of New Orleans, La., cheers as she waits on National Mall for the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., left, and Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., arrive at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009, for the swearing-in of President-elect Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
President Bush, right, walks out with President-elect Barack Obama, left, on the North Portico of the White House before sharing the Presidential limousine en route to Capitol Hill for inauguration in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009.(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, left, and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger arrive at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009, for the swearing-in of President-elect Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
Oprah Winfrey, center, is joined by companion Steadman Graham, left, as she arrives for the inauguration of Barack Obama and Joe Biden at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and his wife Anna find their seats as they arrive for the inauguration ceremony at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., arrives for the inauguration ceremony at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Bundled people pack the National Mall in Washington for the Inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Jacob Washington, 8, of Hopkinsville, Ken., sleeps at his parents feet as they wait on the National Mall for the Inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Bundled people pack the National Mall for the Inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Sen. Roland Burris, D-Ill., gives thumbs-up as he arrives the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009, for the swearing-in of President-elect Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
The U.S. Capitol in Washington is seen lit up early Tuesday morning, Jan. 20, 2009, before the swearing-in ceremony of President-elect Barack Obama. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
Shareef Harrison, 9, left, shows off his decorated flag as Cheryl Odom, right, watches during an inauguration ceremony at the Harlem Armory Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009 in New York. Thousands are gathering to celebrate the inauguration of U.S. President-elect Barack Obama. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
President-elect Barack Obama and Michelle Obama are welcomed by Rev. Luis Leon as the arrive for church service at St. John's Episcopal Church across from the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
President-elect Barack Obama and Michelle Obama leave the Blair House before going to a church service at St. John's Episcopal Church across from the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
Orquenitta Donely of Chicago, Ill., right, and Eve Julien of New York City, left, wait pushed up against a gate at a security check point to enter and attend the the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. They said they had both been there since 2:00 a.m. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
People wear Obama paraphernalia as they wait in New York's Pennsylvania Station to board an Amtrak train to Washington, D.C., to attend the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama, Tuesday morning, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
A woman wears Obama paraphernali in New York's Pennsylvania Station as she waits to board an Amtrak train to Washington, D.C., to attend the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama, Tuesday morning Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Dawn Appleby, left, from London, England, and her brother Daniel Appleby, from New York, read newspapers in New York's Pennsylvania Station as they wait to board an Amtrak train to Washington, D.C., to attend the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama, Tuesday morning Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
The sun rises on the U.S. Capitol and the already crowded National Mall on Inauguration Day as people continue to gather in anticipation of the swearing-in of President-elect Barack Obama on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009 in Washington.
Matryoshkas, traditional Russian nesting dolls made of wood, depicting U.S. President-elect Barack Obama, at left, and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, second from right, and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, right, are seen in Moscow, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. Barack Obama strides to the pinnacle of American power Tuesday, taking the oath as the 44th U.S. president and shattering racial barriers as the first black leader of a country gripped by profound economic troubles and at war in two distant lands. (AP Photo/Misha Japaridze)
A child with Obama's name painted on her face seen at a mock inauguration party, held in Kisumu, Kenya, Tuesday Jan. 20, 2009 to celebrate the inauguration of American President elect Barack Obama in Washington DC.The election of a black American president stands as a powerful symbol of unity on this continent, where many countries are still riven between competing ethnic groups and the older generations still remember the injustices of colonialism.(AP Photo/Riccardo Gangale)
A street vendor demonstrates a Matryoshka, traditional Russian nesting dolls made of wood, depicting U.S. President-elect Barack Obama, as it is displayed for sale in Moscow, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. Barack Obama strides to the pinnacle of American power Tuesday, taking the oath as the 44th U.S. president and shattering racial barriers as the first black leader of a country gripped by profound economic troubles and at war in two distant lands. (AP Photo/Misha Japaridze)
People wait in line for access to the inaugural parade route prior to the swearing-in of President-elect Barack Obama, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009, in Washington. (AP Photo/Rob Carr)
Crowds gather on the National Mall in Washington for the swearing-in ceremony of President-elect Barack Obama on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
More people arrive on the already crowded National Mall on Inauguration Day in anticipation of the swearing-in of President-elect Barack Obama on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009 in Washington. (AP Photo/Kevin Wolf)
Artist Darla Nageswara Rao gives finishing touches to a portrait of U.S. President-elect Barack Obama, made with 33,265 colored stickers in Hyderabad, India, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A)
Bundled people wait before dawn at a security check point to attend the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
U.S. President-elect Barack Obama's sand sculpture made by an Indian artist Sudarshan Pattnaik, is seen at the golden sea beach in Puri, 67 kilometers (41 miles) away from Bhubaneswar, India, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Biswaranjan Rout)
Actor Denzel Washington is among the early arrivals for the inauguration of Barack Obama and Joe Biden at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Crowds gather on the National Mall in Washington for the swearing-in ceremony of President-elect Barack Obama on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
Crowds gather on the National Mall in Washington for the swearing-in ceremony of President-elect Barack Obama on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009.(AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
People wait on the National Mall in Washington early Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009, before the swearing-in ceremony of President-elect Barack Obama. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Crowds gather early on the National Mall by the Washington Monument for the swearing-in ceremony for President-elect Barack Obama in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
Crowds gather early on the National Mall for the swearing-in ceremony for President-elect Barack Obama in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
Stand-ins for President-elect Barack Obama, his wife Michelle Obama and Chief Justice John Roberts rehearse the swearing in ceremony for the inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol, Monday, Jan. 19, 2009 in Washington. Obama will take the oath of office as the 44th President on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., takes a photo from the podium outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Monday, Jan. 19, 2009, a day before the swearing-in ceremony of President-elect Barack Obama. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
Yo-Yo Ma rehearses for the swearing-in ceremony for the inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol, Monday, Jan. 19, 2008 in Washington. President-elect Barack Obama will take the oath of office as the 44th President on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Crowds gather in the National Mall as they wait for the inauguration ceremony at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, early Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Michelle Obama wife of President-elect Barack Obama walks to the stage to be greeted by Vice President-elect Joe Biden's wife Jill, center, and her grandchildren during the "Kids' Inaugural: We Are The Future Concert" in Washington, Monday, Jan. 19, 2009. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Jill Biden, wife of Vice President-elect Joe Biden, left, and her grandchildren greet Michelle Obama, wife of President-elect Barack Obama, during the "Kids' Inaugural: We Are The Future Concert" in Washington, Monday, Jan. 19, 2009. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Inauguration merchandise is shown as campers register at Cherry Hill Park, an RV park and campground in College Park, Md., outside of Washington, Monday, Jan. 19, 2009. A majority of the guests staying at the park are attending Tuesday's inauguration in Washington. (AP Photo/Rob Carr)
A President-elect Barack Obama hand puppet being sold in Washington, Monday, Jan. 19, 2009. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Carol Williams from Brooklyn, N.Y., holds an American flag on the National Mall in Washington Monday, Jan. 19, 2009, in anticipation of the swearing-in of President-elect Barack Obama Tuesday. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Vietnam war veteran Harry Thompson of Fort Worth, Texas, carries a flag with the image of President-elect Barack Obama as he stands in front of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, Monday, Jan. 19, 2009. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Billy Johnson, far left, of Charlotte, N.C., photographs General Mealer, right, with his grandsons Daryll Mealer, 7, second from left, and Jason Mealer, 6, with a cardboard cutout of President-elect Barack Obama on the National Mall in Washington, Monday, Jan. 19, 2009. The Mealers are from Carry, N.C. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Paul Locke of Richmond, Va., sells inauguration buttons with the images of President-elect Barack Obama for five dollars a piece in Washington, Monday, Jan. 19, 2009. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
People cross 17th Street on the National Mal carrying an inaugural shopping bag with the image of President-elect Barack Obama in Washington, Monday, Jan. 19, 2009. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Miley Cyrus and Billy Ray Cyrus perform during "Kids' Inaugural: We Are The Future Concert" in Washington, Monday, Jan. 19, 2009. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
The sun rises on the already crowded National Mall on Inauguration Day as people continue to gather in anticipation of the swearing-in of President-elect Barack Obama on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009 in Washington. (AP Photo/Kevin Wolf)
Barack Hussein Obama
Stephanie Casillas takes a picture of Maya Landry, 3, in a John McCain mask and Alex Vincelette, 3, in an Obama mask while their preschool class visits the Arroyo Vista Park polling place in Moorpark, Calif., Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008. (AP Photo/The Ventura County Star, James Glover II)
President-elect Barack Obama, left, his wife Michelle Obama, right, and two daughters, Malia, and Sasha, center left, wave to the crowd at the election night rally in Chicago, Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
President-elect Barack Obama kisses wife, Michelle, after his acceptance speech at his election night party at Grant Park in Chicago, Tuesday night, Nov. 4, 2008. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., addresses supporters at a rally in Manassas, Va., Monday, Nov. 3, 2008. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
*** CORRECTS NAME OF PHOTOGRAPHER *** University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign students celebrate on the Alma Mater after Obama was announced the president-elect early Wednesday morning, Nov. 5, 2008 in Champaign, Ill. (AP Photo/The Daily Illini - Ramzi Dreessen)
Supporters of President-elect Barack Obama cheer in the streets in downtown Chicago on Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008. (AP Photo/Stacie Freudnberg)
Dennis Caudill, of Crown Point, Indiana, places a sign supporting Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and vice presidential candidate and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin on the mantle at the home of Palin friends Brad and Kristan Cole, Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008, in Wasilla, Alaska. Caudill was part of a group of McCain supporters and friends from across the country gathered to watch election returns in Wasilla. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., right, is joined by Gov. Sarah Palin, R-Alaska, during a rally with supporters on election night in Phoenix, Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
Joan Crecca kisses a life size cutout of presidential candidate John McCain at the Republican election party in Bellevue, Wash on Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008. Crecca's husband Joe was a POW in Viet Nam at the same time as McCain. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)
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This is the full text of President Obama's speech:

My fellow citizens: 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 co-operation he has shown throughout this transition.

Watch Barack Obama's inauguration live

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 forbearers, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land - a nagging fear that America's decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America - they will be met.

On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.

We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. 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 a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted - for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things - some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labour, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and travelled across oceans in search of a new life.

For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and ploughed the hard earth.

For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn.

Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.

This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions - that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act - not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do.

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions - who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them - that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works - whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held to account - to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day - because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control - and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favours only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our Gross Domestic Product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart - not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.

As for our common defence, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort - even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the spectre of a warming planet. We will not apologise 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.

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus - and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

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.

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world's resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us today, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages. We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment - a moment that will define a generation - it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.

For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the fire-fighter's courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent's willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends - hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism - these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility - a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

This is the source of our confidence - the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.

This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed - why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have travelled. In the year of America's birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people: "Let it be told to the future world...that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive...that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it]."

America. In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.



Barack Obama: the Next President



Watch: Obama victory speech video on election night

Watch: John McCain's concession speech video

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