[Congressional Record Volume 159, Number 7 (Tuesday, January 22, 2013)]
[Pages S183-S187]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                           INAUGURAL CEREMONY

  Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the 
transcript of the inaugural ceremony proceedings for Monday, January 
21, be printed in the Record.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

                           Inaugural Ceremony

       Inauguration of Barack Hussein Obama, January 21, 2013, 
     11:30 a.m.
       Their Excellencies, the Chiefs of Diplomatic Missions, 
     assembled on the President's platform.
       The Architect of the Capitol, Stephen T. Ayers, assembled 
     on the President's platform.
       The Joint Chiefs of Staff assembled on the President's 
       The Governors of the United States and its territories and 
     the mayor of the District of Columbia assembled on the 
     President's platform.
       Members of the 113th House of Representatives of the United 
     States, led by majority whip Kevin McCarthy and Democratic 
     whip Steny Hoyer, and the dean of the House of 
     Representatives, John Dingell, assembled on the President's 
       Members of the 113th Senate of the United States assembled 
     on the President's platform.
       Former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Newt 
     Gingrich, accompanied by Mrs. Gingrich, assembled on the 
     President's platform.
       Former Senate majority leader Tom Daschle, accompanied by 
     Mrs. Daschle, assembled on the President's platform.
       Ambassador Matthew Barzun, Ms. Eva Longoria, Ms. Jane 
     Stetson, and Mr. Frank White, Jr., cochairs of the 57th 
     Presidential Inaugural Committee; Mr. Steve J. Kerrigan, 
     chief executive officer; and Mr. David J. Cusack, executive 
     director of the 57th Presidential Inaugural Committee, 
     assembled on the President's platform.
       The President's Cabinet and agency designees assembled on 
     the President's platform.

[[Page S184]]

       The Chief Justice of the United States, the Honorable John 
     G. Roberts, Jr., and the Associate Justices of the Supreme 
     Court of the United States assembled on the President's 
       The 39th President of the United States, Jimmy Carter, and 
     Mrs. Rosalynn Carter assembled on the President's platform.
       The 42nd President of the United States, William Jefferson 
     Clinton, and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton 
     assembled on the President's platform.
       The children of the Vice President, MAJ Beau Biden, Hunter 
     Biden, and Ashley Biden, accompanied by the House chief 
     administrative officer, Dan Strodel, assembled on the 
     President's platform.
       The daughters of the President, Malia Obama and Sasha 
     Obama, also Mrs. Marian Robinson, accompanied by Catlin 
     O'Neill, assembled on the President's platform.
       Dr. Jill Biden, accompanied by Mrs. Alexander, Mrs. 
     Boehner, Mrs. Cantor, Assistant Secretary of the Senate 
     Sheila Dwyer, and Deputy Clerk of the House of 
     Representatives Robert Reeves, assembled on the President's 
       The First Lady of the United States, Mrs. Michelle Obama, 
     accompanied by Secretary of the Senate Nancy Erikson, Clerk 
     of the House of Representatives Karen Haas, Mrs. Schumer, 
     Mrs. Reid, and Mr. Pelosi, assembled on the President's 
       The Vice President of the United States, Joseph R. Biden, 
     accompanied by the inaugural coordinator for the Joint 
     Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, Kelly Fado; 
     Senate Deputy Sergeant at Arms, Martine Bradford; House 
     Deputy Sergeant at Arms, Kerry Hanley; Senate majority 
     leader, Senator Harry Reid; and House Democratic leader, 
     Representative Nancy Pelosi, assembled on the President's 
       The President of the United States, Barack H. Obama, 
     accompanied by the staff director for the Joint Congressional 
     Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, Jean Parvin Bordewich; 
     Senate Sergeant at Arms, Terrence W. Gainer; the House 
     Sergeant at Arms, Paul Irving; chairman of the Joint 
     Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, Senator 
     Charles E. Schumer; Senator Lamar Alexander; the Speaker of 
     the House of Representatives, John Boehner; Senate majority 
     leader, Senator Harry Reid; House majority leader, 
     Representative Eric Cantor; and House Democratic leader, 
     Representative Nancy Pelosi, assembled on the President's 
       Mr. SCHUMER. Mr. President, Mr. Vice President, Members of 
     Congress, all who are present, and to all who are watching, 
     welcome to the Capitol and to this celebration of our great 
     democracy. This is the 57th inauguration of an American 
     President, and no matter how many times one witnesses this 
     event, its simplicity, its innate majesty, and most of all 
     its meaning, that sacred, yet cautious, entrusting of power 
     from we, the people, to our chosen leader, never fails to 
     make one's heart beat faster as it will today with the 
     inauguration of President Barack H. Obama.
       We know we would not be here today were it not for those 
     who stand guard around the world to preserve our freedom. To 
     those in our Armed Forces, we offer our infinite thanks for 
     your bravery, your honor, your sacrifice.
       This democracy of ours was forged by intellect and 
     argument, by activism and blood, and above all, from John 
     Adams to Elizabeth Cady Stanton, to Martin Luther King, Jr., 
     by a stubborn adherence to the notion that we are all created 
     equal and deserve nothing less than a great Republic worthy 
     of our consent.
       The theme of this year's inaugural is ``Faith in America's 
     Future.'' The perfect embodiment of this unshakable 
     confidence and the ongoing success of our collective journey 
     is an event from our past. I speak of the improbable 
     completion of the Capitol dome and capping it with the Statue 
     of Freedom which occurred 150 years ago in 1863.
       When Abraham Lincoln took office 2 years earlier, the dome 
     above us was a half-built eyesore. The conventional wisdom 
     was it should be left unfinished until the war ended, given 
     the travails and financial needs of the times. But to 
     President Lincoln, the half-finished dome symbolized the 
     half-divided Nation. Lincoln said: If people see the Capitol 
     going on, it is a sign we intend the Union shall go on. So 
     despite the conflict which engulfed the Nation and surrounded 
     the city, the dome continued to rise.
       On December 2, 1863, the Statue of Freedom, a woman, was 
     placed atop the dome, where she still stands. In a sublime 
     irony, it was a former slave, now free American, Philip Reid, 
     who helped to cast the bronze statue.
       Our present times are not as perilous or despairing as they 
     were in 1863, but in 2013 far too many doubt the future of 
     this great Nation and our ability to tackle our own era's 
     half-finished domes.
       Today's problems are intractable, they say; the times are 
     so complex, the differences in the country and the world so 
     deep we will never overcome them. When thoughts such as these 
     produce anxiety, fear, and even despair, we do well to 
     remember Americans have always been, and still are, a 
     practical, optimistic, problem-solving people; that, as our 
     history shows, no matter how steep the climb, how difficult 
     the problems, how half-finished the task, America always 
     rises to the occasion. America prevails and America prospers.
       Those who bet against this country have inevitably been on 
     the wrong side of history. So it is a good moment to gaze 
     upward and behold the Statue of Freedom at the top of the 
     Capitol dome. It is a good moment to gain strength and 
     courage and humility from those who were determined to 
     complete the half-finished dome. It is a good moment to 
     rejoice at this 57th Presidential inaugural ceremony, and it 
     is the perfect moment to renew our collective faith in the 
     future of America.
       Thank you and God bless these United States.
       In that spirit of faith, I would now like to introduce 
     civil rights leader Myrlie Evers, who has committed her life 
     to extending the promise of our Nation's founding principles 
     to all Americans.
       Mrs. Evers will lead us in the invocation.
       Mrs. EVERS. America, we are here, our Nation's Capitol, on 
     this day, January the 21st, 2013, the inauguration of our 
     45th President, Barack Obama. We come at this time to ask 
     blessings upon our leaders, the President, Vice President, 
     Members of Congress, all elected and appointed officials of 
     the United States of America.
       We are here to ask blessings upon our Armed Forces, 
     blessings upon all who contribute to the essence of the 
     American spirit, the American dream, the opportunity to 
     become whatever our mankind, womankind allows us to be. This 
     is the promise of America.
       As we sing the words of belief, ``This is my country,'' let 
     us act upon the meaning everyone is included. May the 
     inherent dignity and inalienable rights of every woman, man, 
     boy, and girl be honored. May all Your people, especially the 
     least of these, flourish in our blessed Nation. One hundred 
     fifty years after the Emancipation Proclamation and 50 years 
     after the march on Washington, we celebrate the spirit of our 
     ancestors which has allowed us to move from a nation of 
     unborn hopes and a history of disenfranchised votes to 
     today's expression of a more perfect Union.
       We ask, too, Almighty, that where our paths seem blanketed 
     by throngs of oppression and rippled by pangs of despair, we 
     ask for Your guidance toward the light of deliverance, and 
     with the vision of those who came before us and dreamed of 
     this day, that we recognize their visions still inspire us. 
     They are a great cloud of witnesses unseen by the naked eye 
     but all around us thankful that their living was not in vain. 
     For every mountain You gave us the strength to climb, Your 
     grace is pleaded to continue that climb for America and the 
       We now stand beneath the shadow of the Nation's Capitol 
     whose golden dome reflects the unity and democracy of one 
     Nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
       Approximately 4 miles from where we are assembled, the 
     hallowed remains of men and women rest in Arlington Cemetery; 
     they who believed, fought, and died for this country. May 
     their spirit infuse our being to work together with respect, 
     enabling us to continue to build this Nation, and in so doing 
     we send a message to the world that we are strong, fierce in 
     our strength, and ever vigilant in our pursuit of freedom.
       We ask that You grant our President the will to act 
     courageously but cautiously when confronted with danger and 
     to act prudently but deliberately when challenged by 
     adversity. Please continue to vest his efforts, to lead by 
     example in consideration and favor of the diversity of our 
     people. Bless our families all across this Nation.
       We thank You for this opportunity of prayer to strengthen 
     us for the journey through the days that lie ahead. We invoke 
     the prayers of our grandmothers who taught us to pray: God 
     make me a blessing. Let their spirit guide us as we claim the 
     spirit of old. There is something within me that holds the 
     reins. There is something within me that banishes pain. There 
     is something within me I cannot explain. But all I know, 
     America, there is something within--there is something 
       In Jesus's name and the name of all who are holy and right, 
     we pray.
       Mr. SCHUMER. I am pleased to introduce the award-winning 
     tabernacle choir, the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, to sing 
     ``Battle Hymn of the Republic.''
       (Performance by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir.)
       Mr. SCHUMER. Please join me in welcoming my colleague and 
     friend, the Senator from Tennessee, the Honorable Lamar 
       Mr. ALEXANDER. Mr. President, Mr. Vice President, ladies 
     and gentlemen, the late Alex Haley, author of ``Roots,'' 
     lived his life by these six words: ``Find the good and praise 
     it.'' Today we praise the American tradition of transferring 
     or reaffirming immense power in the inauguration of the 
     President of the United States. We do this in a peaceful, 
     orderly way. There is no mob, no coup, no insurrection. This 
     is a moment when millions stop and watch, a moment most of us 
     always will remember. It is a moment that is our most 
     conspicuous and enduring symbol of the American democracy. 
     How remarkable that this has survived for so long in such a 
     complex country, when so much power is at stake, this freedom 
     to vote for our leaders and the restraint to respect the 
       Last year, at Mount Vernon, a tour guide told me our first 
     President, George Washington, once posed this question: What 

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     most important of this grand experiment, the United States? 
     Then Washington answered his own question in this way: Not 
     the election of the first President but the election of its 
     second President. The peaceful transfer of power is what will 
     separate our country from every other country in the world.
       Today we celebrate the 57th inauguration of the American 
     President: Find the good and praise it.
       It is my honor to introduce Associate Justice of the U.S. 
     Supreme Court Sonia Sotomayor for the purpose of 
     administering the oath of office to the Vice President. Will 
     everyone please stand.
       Associate Justice SONIA SOTOMAYOR administered to the Vice 
     President-elect the oath of office prescribed by the 
     Constitution, which he repeated, as follows:
       I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., do solemnly swear that I will 
     support and defend the Constitution of the United States 
     against all enemies foreign and domestic; that I will bear 
     true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this 
     obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose 
     of evasion, and that I will well and faithfully discharge the 
     duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me 
       Justice SOTOMAYOR. Congratulations.
       Mr. SCHUMER. It is my pleasure to introduce renowned 
     musical artist James Taylor.
       (Performance by James Taylor.)
       Mr. SCHUMER. It is my honor to present the Chief Justice of 
     the United States, JOHN G. ROBERTS, JR., who will administer 
     the Presidential oath of office.
       Everyone, please rise.
       The Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, JOHN G. 
     ROBERTS, JR., administered to the President-elect the oath of 
     office prescribed by the Constitution, which he repeated as 
       I, BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA, do solemnly swear that I will 
     faithfully execute the office of President of the United 
     States and will, to the best of my ability, preserve, 
     protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States. So 
     help me God.
       The CHIEF JUSTICE. Congratulations, Mr. President.
       Mr. SCHUMER. Ladies and gentlemen, it is my great privilege 
     and distinct honor to introduce the 44th President of the 
     United States of America, Barack H. Obama.
       The PRESIDENT. Thank you. Thank you so much.
       Vice President Biden, Mr. Chief Justice, Members of the 
     U.S. Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow citizens, 
     each time we gather to inaugurate a President, we bear 
     witness to the enduring strength of our Constitution. We 
     affirm the promise of our democracy. We recall that what 
     binds this Nation together are not the colors of our skin or 
     the tenets of our faith or the origins of our names. What 
     makes us exceptional--what makes us American--is our 
     allegiance to an idea, articulated in a declaration made more 
     than two centuries ago:
       We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are 
     created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with 
     certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, 
     Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
       Today we continue a never-ending journey to bridge the 
     meaning of those words with the realities of our time, for 
     history tells us that while these truths may be self-evident, 
     they have never been self-executing; that while freedom is a 
     gift from God, it must be secured by His people here on 
       The patriots of 1776 did not fight to replace the tyranny 
     of a king with the privileges of a few or the rule of a mob. 
     They gave to us a republic, a government of and by and for 
     the people, entrusting each generation to keep safe our 
     founding creed. For more than 200 years, we have. Through 
     blood drawn by lash and blood drawn by sword, we learned that 
     no union founded on the principles of liberty and equality 
     could survive half slave and half free. We made ourselves 
     anew and vowed to move forward together. Together, we 
     determined that a modern economy requires railroads and 
     highways to speed travel and commerce; schools and colleges 
     to train our workers. Together, we discovered that a free 
     market only thrives when there are rules to ensure 
     competition and fair play. Together, we resolve that a great 
     nation must care for the vulnerable and protect its people 
     from life's worst hazards and misfortunes. Through it all, we 
     have never relinquished our skepticism of central authority, 
     nor have we succumbed to the fiction that all society's ills 
     can be cured through government alone. Our celebration of 
     initiative and enterprise, our insistence on hard work and 
     personal responsibility, these are constants in our 
       We have always understood that when times change, so must 
     we; that fidelity to our founding principles requires new 
     responses to new challenges; that preserving our individual 
     freedoms ultimately requires collective action, for the 
     American people can no more meet the demands of today's world 
     by acting alone than American soldiers could have met the 
     forces of fascism or communism with muskets and militias. No 
     single person can train all the math and science teachers we 
     will need to equip our children for the future or build the 
     roads and networks and research labs that will bring new 
     jobs to our shores. Now, more than ever, we must do these 
     things together as one Nation and one people.
       This generation of Americans has been tested by crises that 
     steeled our resolve and proved our resilience. A decade of 
     war is now ending.
       An economic recovery has begun.
       America's possibilities are limitless, for we possess all 
     the qualities this world without boundaries demands: youth 
     and drive, diversity and openness, an endless capacity for 
     risk, and a gift for reinvention.
       My fellow Americans, we are made for this moment, and we 
     will seize it so long as we seize it together.
       For we, the People, understand that our country cannot 
     succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many 
     barely make it.
       We believe America's prosperity must rest upon the broad 
     shoulders of a rising middle class. We know America thrives 
     when every person can find independence and pride in their 
     work, when the wages of honest labor liberate families from 
     the brink of hardship. We are true to our creed when a little 
     girl born into the bleakest poverty knows she has the same 
     chance to succeed as anybody else because she is an American, 
     she is free, and she is equal, not just in the eyes of God 
     but also in our own.
       We understand outworn programs are inadequate to the needs 
     of our time. We must harness new ideas in technology to 
     remake our government, revamp our Tax Code, reform our 
     schools, and empower our citizens with the skills they need 
     to work harder, learn more, and reach higher. But while the 
     means will change, our purpose endures. A nation that rewards 
     the effort and determination of every single American, that 
     is what this moment requires. That is what will give real 
     meaning to our creed.
       We, the people, still believe that every citizen deserves a 
     basic measure of security and dignity. We must make the hard 
     choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our 
     deficit. But we reject the belief that America must choose 
     between caring for the generation that built this country and 
     investing in the generation that will build its future.
       For we remember the lessons of our past, when twilight 
     years were spent in poverty and parents of a child with a 
     disability had nowhere to turn. We do not believe, in this 
     country, freedom is reserved for the lucky or happiness for 
     the few. We recognize that no matter how responsibly we live 
     our lives, any one of us, at any time, may face a job loss or 
     a sudden illness or a home swept away in a terrible storm. 
     The commitments we make to each other, through Medicare and 
     Medicaid and Social Security, these things do not sap our 
     Nation; they strengthen us.
       They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to 
     take the risks that make this country great.
       We, the people, still believe our obligations as Americans 
     are not just to ourselves but to all posterity. We will 
     respond to the threat of climate change, knowing the failure 
     to do so would betray our children and future generations.
       Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, 
     but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires and 
     crippling drought and more powerful storms. The path toward 
     sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes 
     difficult, but America cannot resist this transition; we must 
     lead it. We cannot cede to other Nations the technology that 
     will power new jobs and new industries; we must claim its 
     promise. That is how we will maintain our economic vitality 
     and our national treasure, our forests and waterways, our 
     croplands and snow-capped peaks. That is how we will preserve 
     our planet, commanded to our care by God. That is what will 
     lend meaning to the creed our Fathers once declared.
       We, the people, still believe that enduring security and 
     lasting peace do not require perpetual war. Our brave men and 
     women in uniform, tempered by the flames of battle, are 
     unmatched in skill and courage. Our citizens, seared by the 
     memory of those we have lost, know too well the price that is 
     paid for liberty. The knowledge of their sacrifice will keep 
     us forever vigilant against those who would do us harm. But 
     we are also heirs to those who won the peace and not just the 
     war, who turned sworn enemies into the surest of friends, and 
     we must carry those lessons into this time as well.
       We will defend our people and uphold our values through 
     strength of arms and rule of law. We will show the courage to 
     try and resolve our differences with other Nations 
     peacefully, not because we are naive about the dangers we 
     face but because engagement can more durably lift suspicion 
     and fear.
       America will remain the anchor of strong alliances in every 
     corner of the globe, and we will renew those institutions 
     that extend our capacity to manage crisis abroad, for no one 
     has a greater stake in a peaceful world than its most 
     powerful Nation. We will support democracy from Asia to 
     Africa, from the Americas to the Middle East, because our 
     interests and our conscience compel us to act

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     on behalf of those who long for freedom. We must be a source 
     of hope to the poor, the sick, the marginalized, the victims 
     of prejudice, not out of mere charity but because peace in 
     our time requires the constant advance of those principles 
     that our common creed describes: tolerance and opportunity, 
     human dignity and justice.
       We, the people, declare today that the most evident of 
     truths, that all of us are created equal, is the star that 
     guides us still, just as it guided our forebears through 
     Seneca Falls and Selma and Stonewall, just as it guided all 
     those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints 
     along this great Mall to hear a preacher say we cannot walk 
     alone, to hear a ``King'' proclaim that our individual 
     freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on 
       It is now our generation's task to carry on what those 
     pioneers began, for our journey is not complete until our 
     wives, our mothers, and daughters can earn a living equal to 
     their efforts.
       Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and 
     sisters are treated like anyone else under the law, for 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 no citizen is forced to 
     wait for hours to exercise the right to vote. Our journey is 
     not complete until we find a better way to welcome the 
     striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land 
     of opportunity; until bright young students and engineers are 
     enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our 
       Our journey is not complete until all our children, from 
     the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia, to the 
     quiet lanes of Newtown, know they are cared for and cherished 
     and always safe from harm. That is our generation's task--to 
     make these words, these rights, these values of life and 
     liberty and the pursuit of happiness real for every American.
       Being true to our founding documents does not require us to 
     agree on every contour of life. It does not mean we will all 
     define liberty in exactly the same way or follow the same 
     precise path to happiness. Progress does not compel us to 
     settle centuries-long debates about the role of government 
     for all time, but it does require us to act in our time.
       For now decisions are upon us, and we cannot afford delay. 
     We cannot mistake absolutism for principle or substitute 
     spectacle for politics or treat name-calling as reasoned 
     debate. We must act, knowing our work will be imperfect. We 
     must act, knowing today's victories will be only partial and 
     that it will be up to those who stand here in 4 years and 40 
     years and 400 years hence to advance the timeless spirit once 
     conferred to us in a spare Philadelphia hall.
       My fellow Americans, the oath I have sworn before you 
     today, similar to the one recited by others who serve in this 
     Capitol, was an oath to God and country, not party or 
     faction, and we must faithfully execute that pledge during 
     the duration of our service. But the words I spoke today are 
     not so different from the oath that is taken each time a 
     soldier signs up for duty or an immigrant realizes her dream. 
     My oath is not so different from the pledge we all make to 
     the flag that waves above and that fills our hearts with 
     pride. They are the words of citizens and they represent our 
     greatest hope.
       You and I, as citizens, have the power to set this 
     country's course. You and I, as citizens, have the obligation 
     to shape the debates of our time, not only with the votes we 
     cast but with the voices we lift in defense of our most 
     ancient values and enduring ideals. Let each of us now 
     embrace, with solemn duty and awesome joy, what is our 
     lasting birthright. With common effort and common purpose, 
     with passion and dedication, let us answer the call of 
     history and carry into an uncertain future that precious 
     light of freedom.
       Thank you. God bless you, and may He forever bless these 
     United States of America.
       Mr. SCHUMER. At this time, please join me in welcoming 
     award-winning artist Kelly Clarkson, accompanied by the U.S. 
     Marine Band.
       (Kelly Clarkson and the Marine Band performed.)
       Mr. SCHUMER. Wow. Our next distinguished guest is the poet 
     Richard Blanco, who will share with us words he has composed 
     for this occasion.
       Mr. BLANCO. Mr. President, Mr. Vice President, America, 
     ``One Today.''

     One sun rose on us today, kindled over our shores, peeking 
           over the Smokies, greeting the faces of the Great 
           Lakes, spreading a simple truth across the Great 
           Plains, then charging across the Rockies. One light, 
           waking up rooftops, under each one, a story told by our 
           silent gestures moving across windows.
     My face, your face, millions of faces in morning's mirrors, 
           each one yawning to life, crescendoing into our day: 
           pencil-yellow school buses, the rhythm of traffic 
           lights, fruit stands: apples, limes, and oranges 
           arrayed like rainbows begging our praise.
     Silver trucks heavy with oil or paper--bricks or milk, 
           teeming over highways alongside us, on our way to clean 
           tables, read ledgers, or save lives--to teach geometry, 
           or ring up groceries as my mother did for twenty years, 
           so I could write this poem for all of us today.
     All of us as vital as the one light we move through, the same 
           light on blackboards with lessons for the day: 
           equations to solve, history to question, or atoms 
           imagined, the ``I have a dream'' we all keep dreaming 
           or the impossible vocabulary of sorrow that won't 
           explain the empty desks of twenty children marked 
           absent today, and forever. Many prayers, but one light 
           breathing color into stained glass windows, life into 
           the faces of bronzed statues, warmth onto the steps of 
           our museums and park benches as mothers watch children 
           slide into the day.
     One ground. Our ground, rooting us to every stock of corn, 
           every head of wheat sown by sweat and hands, hands 
           gleaning coal or planting windmills in deserts and 
           hilltops that keep us warm, hands digging trenches, 
           routing pipes and cables, hands as worn as my father's 
           cutting sugarcane so my brother and I could have books 
           and shoes.
     The dust of farms and deserts, cities and plains mingled by 
           one wind--our breath. Breathe. Hear it through the 
           day's gorgeous din of honking cabs, buses launching 
           down avenues, the symphony of footsteps, guitars, and 
           screeching subways, the unexpected song bird on your 
           clothes line.
     Hear: squeaky playground swings, trains whistling, or 
           whispers across cafe tables. Hear: the doors we open 
           each day for each other, saying, hello, shalom, buon 
           giorno, howdy, namaste, or buenos dias in the language 
           my mother taught me--in every language spoken into one 
           wind carrying our lives without prejudice, as these 
           words break from my lips.
     One sky: since the Appalachians and Sierras claimed their 
           majesty, and the Mississippi and Colorado worked their 
           way to the sea. Thank the work of our hands: weaving 
           steel into bridges, finishing one more report for the 
           boss on time, stitching another wound or uniform, the 
           first brushstroke on a portrait, or the last floor on 
           the Freedom Tower jutting into a sky that yields to our 
     One sky: toward which we sometimes lift our eyes tired from 
           work, some days guessing at the weather of our lives, 
           some days giving thanks for a love that loves you back, 
           sometimes praising a mother who knew how to give, or 
           forgiving a father who couldn't give what you wanted.
     We head home: through the gloss of rain or weight of snow, or 
           the plum plush of dusk, but always--home, always under 
           one sky, our sky. And always one moon like a silent 
           drum tapping on every rooftop and every window, of one 
           country--all of us--facing the stars. Hope--a new 
           constellation waiting for us to map it, waiting for us 
           to name it--together.

       Mr. SCHUMER. Ladies and gentlemen, it is now my privilege 
     to introduce Rev. Dr. Luis Leon to deliver the benediction.
       Reverend LEON. Let us pray.
       Gracious and eternal God, as we conclude the second 
     inauguration of President Obama, we ask for Your blessings as 
     we seek to become, in the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., 
     citizens of a beloved community loving You and loving our 
     neighbors as ourselves.
       We pray that You will bless us with Your continued presence 
     because without it, hatred and arrogance will infect our 
     hearts. But with Your blessing, we know that we can break 
     down the walls that separate us.
       We pray for Your blessing today because without it, 
     mistrust, prejudice, and rancor will rule our hearts, but 
     with the blessing of Your presence, we know that we can renew 
     the ties of mutual regard which can best form our civic life.
       We pray for Your blessing, because without it, suspicion, 
     despair, and fear of those different from us will be our rule 
     of life. But with Your blessing, we can see each other 
     created in Your image, a unit of God's grace, unprecedented, 
     irrepeatable, and irreplaceable.
       We pray for Your blessing, because without it, we will see 
     only what the eye can see. But with the blessing of Your 
     blessing, we will see that we are created in Your image 
     whether Brown, Black or White, male or female, first-
     generation immigrant American or Daughters of the American 
     Revolution, gay or straight, rich or poor.
       We pray for Your blessing, because without it, we will only 
     see scarcity in the midst of abundance. But with Your 
     blessing, we will recognize the abundance of the gifts of 
     this good land with which You have endowed this Nation.
       We pray for Your blessing. Bless all of us privileged to be 
     citizens and residents of this Nation with a spirit of 
     gratitude and humility that we may become a blessing among 
     the Nations of this world.
       We pray that You will shower with Your life-giving spirit 
     the elected leaders of this land, especially Barack, our 
     President, and Joe, our Vice President. Fill them with the 
     love of truth and righteousness that they may serve this 
     Nation ably and be glad to do Your will. Endow their hearts 
     with wisdom and forbearance so that peace may prevail with 
     righteousness, justice with order so that men and women 
     throughout this Nation

[[Page S187]]

     can find with one another the fulfillment of our humanity.
       We pray that the President, Vice President, and all in 
     political authority will remember the words of the Prophet 
     Micah: What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, 
     to love kindness, and always walk humbly with God.
       (Remarks in Spanish.)
       Mr. President, Mr. Vice President, may God bless you all 
     your days.
       All this we pray in Your most holy Name.
       Mr. SCHUMER. Ladies and gentlemen, please remain standing 
     for the singing of our national anthem by award-winning 
     artist Beyonce, accompanied by the U.S. Marine Band.
       Following the national anthem please remain in your place 
     while the Presidential party exits the platform.
       (Performance by Beyonce and the U.S. Marine Band.)
       (The Inaugural ceremony was concluded at 12:31 p.m.)