It wasn't all dancing. There was also a parade. But it most certainly was a day of national celebration. Actually two days of national celebration to remember, as it started on Sunday at noon with the "official oath," as mandated by the United States Constitution. It culminated on Monday evening in dances at the Inaugural Balls, serenaded by Jennifer Hudson who sang a Marvin Gaye tune, "Let's Stay Together."
Not just Jennifer Hudson, but Brad Paisley performed too. So did Smokey Robinson. Jamie Foxx sang "I Can't Stop Loving You."
Alicia Keys, wearing a plunging-back red gown came out and played the piano, lighting up the crowd with a new version of her Girl on Fire: "Obama's on Fire!"
“He's the President and he's on fire," she sang to the crowd delight. She encouraged the crowd to celebrate America's future which she said is "limitless and endless." That set the tone for an upbeat, inspiring evening.
The Air Force Band played throughout the evening. At the Commander-in-Chief's Inaugural Ball, President Obama danced with Staff Sergeant Bria D. Nelson of the Air Force, and the First Lady Michelle Obama danced with Gunnery Sergeant Timothy D. Easterling of the Marine Corps.
Vice President Joseph Biden danced with Army Staff Sergeant Keesha Nicole Dentino, while Dr. Jill Biden will dance with Petty Officer Patrick Figueroa of the Navy.
These service members were chosen by senior enlisted leaders from the Joint Task Force-National Capital Region, based on factors including combat experience and volunteer efforts.
The White House Press pool was told by a White House official that "The First Lady is wearing a custom Jason Wu ruby colored chiffon and velvet gown with a handmade diamond embellished ring by jewelry designer Kimberly McDonald. She is wearing shoes designed by Jimmy Choo. At the end of the Inaugural festivities, the outfit and accompanying accessories will go to the National Archives."
The day wasn't all dancing and singing, although at the Inauguration ceremony Kelly Clarkson blasted out a brilliant rendition of "My Country Tis of Thee," followed by Beyonce singing The National Anthem.
In the 2013 inaugural speech, President Obama raised his voice, not in the noise of a raised voice of anger, but with the soft music in the background playing and the words singing from his lips. "For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers, and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts."
He continued to intone the lyrics to the song of civil rights for all, "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," referring to the long lines from attempts of voter suppression in various states.
"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 country," a reference to immigration reform.
"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 that they are cared for, and cherished, and always safe from harm," acknowledging that the journey is not only not complete, but that the journey can be imperfect.
"We must act, knowing that our work will be imperfect. We must act, knowing that today’s victories will be only partial, and that it will be up to those who stand here in four years, and forty years, and four hundred years hence to advance the timeless spirit once conferred to us in a spare Philadelphia hall," President Obama said and implied that the imperfection of the journey does not mean we should not attempt it.
While President Obama acknowledged that "every citizen deserves a basic measure of security and dignity." He also added that "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."
He said that we reject the notion that "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 initiative; they strengthen us."
In a tap on the shoulder to Mitt Romney and the past campaign in which he said this was a nation of takers and makers, President Obama said that "They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great."
One of the truly inspiring inauguration speeches, that not only will be remembered for its words, but for the actions to follow. The speech was indeed music.
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John is the author of an award-winning book, the 2010 Winner of the USA National Best Book award for African American studies, published by The Elevator Group, Mr. and Mrs. Grassroots. Also available an eBook on Amazon. John is also a member of the Society of Midland Authors and is a book reviewer of political books for the New York Journal of Books . John has volunteered for many political campaigns.