Speaking to a crowd that extended beyond the eye could see, the first African American President of the United States told America today that he would usher in a new era.
An era of responsibility, respect and common understanding.
"In reaffirming the greatness of our nation," said President Barack Obama. "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 labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom."
President Obama addressed the fundamental differences that unite us in this "patchwork of heritage."
"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus - and non-believers," the 44th President of the United States said. "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."