Washington: Barack Obama was sworn in for the second time as millions of supporters gathered to witness the occasion on Monday.
Obama swore he would "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," as he had done in a quiet ceremony in the gilded Blue Room of the White House Sunday.
Following the inauguration Obama in his quintessential oratory style touched upon the issue of freedom, equality and security in America.
“Freedom is the gift of God but it is to be secured by the people’’, he said.
Obama lauded the American citizens for fighting for peace and evils of economic and environmental hazards.
"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," Obama said.
"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," the 51-year-old president said.
"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 on behalf of those who long for freedom," Obama said.
"And we must be a source of hope to the poor, the sick, the marginalised, 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," he said at the 57th inauguration ceremony of an American president.
"We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that 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," he said.
"What we are celebrating is not the election or the swearing-in of the president," Obama said. "What we are doing is celebrating each other and celebrating this incredible nation that we call home."
"The path towards 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 snowcapped peaks," Obama said.
"That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God. That's what will lend meaning to the creed our fathers once declared," said Obama, who was flanked by First Lady Michelle and the two daughters Sasha and Malia.
"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," Obama said.
"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," he said.
Obama pushed the case for equal rights for women and gays and a better system to welcome new immigrants to the US.
"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," he said.
"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," he added.
"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 we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity."
Obama kicked off his second inauguration day by attending a service at a church near the White House where the pastor thanked him for comforting the nation during times of tragedy and called him the "Pastor in chief."
Obama went to St John's Church before heading to the Capitol Hill for his ceremonial second inauguration, as has been the tradition for presidential inauguration.
He was joined by his wife Michelle and daughters Sasha and Malia.
Thanking Obama for work he did after Newtown shooting tragedy, Pastor Andy Stanley said he should be called the "Pastor in Chief."
Pastor Stanley set up the rest of the message with "What do you do, when you're the most important person in the room? You are the decision maker."
He told a story of Jesus moving from being most powerful in room to becoming a "servant," washing disciples' feet, mentioning Jesus touching "untouchable people."
The prayer service was followed by the blessing of the President and Vice President by Bishop Vacti Mckenzie, Presiding Bishop, 10th episcopal district, African Methodist episcopal church.
Obama and Vice President Joe Biden stood in front row to receive blessing with heads bowed.
Pastor listed members of first family and Biden’s family and said "breathe your spirit into these hearts, "bring us back into that unity of love which is the likeness of your nature, and "may we extend opportunities to those who cannot find their way brought the pitfalls and maze of our cultural landscape."
Also: "Bless this administration with both favour and grace" and "give them the resources and people necessary to get the job done" The First Lady was wearing a navy Thom Browne coat and dress. The fabric was developed based on the style of a men's silk tie.
At the end of the Inaugural festivities, the outfit and accompanying accessories will go to the National Archives, a White House official said.
Daughter Malia was wearing a J Crew ensemble, while Sasha was wearing a Kate Spade coat and dress.
Obama took the oath of office for his second term on two historic bibles, that of Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King. He looked confident and was seen smiling before his ceremonial swearing in and waved to the lakhs of cheering crowds.
"This is the celebration of our great democracy," said Senator Charles E Schumer, Chairman of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, as he invited Obama and the Chief Justice for the ceremonial swearing in.
"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," Obama said with his hand on the historic bibles being held by First Lady Michelle and the two daughters Sasha and Malia standing alongside.
"So help me God," he said. "Congratulations Mr President," the Chief Justice said.
Though there is no constitutional requirement for the use of a Bible during the swearing-in, Presidents have traditionally used Bibles for the ceremony, choosing a volume with personal or historical significance.
In 2009, President Obama became the first President sworn in using the Lincoln Bible since its initial use in 1861.
Vice President Joe Biden was sworn in by the Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
(With Agency Inputs)
First Published: Monday, January 21, 2013, 22:43