President Barack Obama challenged Americans to live up to the principles behind the nation’s founding during his second inaugural address, delivered Monday after taking a ceremonial oath of office.
“What makes us exceptional, what makes us America, is our allegiance to an ideal in a declaration made more than two centuries ago,” the president said. “History tells us that while these truths may be self-evident, they have never been self-executing.”
Obama and Vice President Joe Biden were sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts and Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, respectively, shortly before noon; Monday’s oath of office was ceremonial, following their formal, constitutionally-prescribed swearing-in on Sunday.
Former Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter were among the dignitaries in attendance. Celebrities including Jay-Z, Beyonce Knowles and Eva Longoria joined government officials on the inaugural platform, and attendees were treated to performances by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir and James Taylor, among other artists.
Earlier in the day, Obama and the first family attended a service at St. John’s Episcopal Church — the “Church of the Presidents,” as it is sometimes known — just two blocks from the White House.
There, Dr. Luis Leon, the rector of the church, led a series of “prayers for the nation,” Washington Cardinal Donald Weurl led a Gospel reading, and an Alexandria, Va., rabbi offered a final blessing. Vice President Joe Biden and his wife also attended the service.
See Photo GALLERY:
PHOTOS: 2013 Presidential Inauguration Day
1. President Obama and First Lady MIchelle Obama1 of 14
2. People gathered in Washington DC2 of 14
3. President Obama Speech3 of 14
4. The Crowd4 of 14
5. President Obama and Sen Charles Schumer5 of 14
6. President Obama and The Crowd6 of 14
7. VP Joe Biden Oath of Office w/ Dr Jill BIden7 of 14
8. Former President Bill Clinton Sec of State Hillary Clinton8 of 14
9. Singers Jay Z and Beyonce9 of 14
10. First Lady MIchelle Obama with Daughters and Mother10 of 14
11. President Obama and First Lady MIchelle Obama11 of 14
12. The Oath of Office12 of 14
13. The Oath of Office13 of 14
14. The First Family Heading To Church14 of 14