The Fifty-Seventh Presidential Inauguration on January 21, 2013 presented by the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies.

Swearing-In Ceremony for President Barack H. Obama

Fifty-Sixth Inaugural Ceremonies, January 20, 2009



The United States Marine Band; Colonel Michael J. Colburn, Director

Call to Order and Welcoming Remarks

  • Dianne Feinstein

U.S. Senate Photo Studio


  • Dr. Rick Warren

U.S. Senate Photo Studio

Musical Selection

  • Aretha Franklin

U.S. Senate Photo Studio

Vice Presidential Oath of Office

Administered to Joseph R. Biden Jr. by the Honorable John Paul Stevens, Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

U.S. Senate Photo Studio

Musical Selection

  • Yo-Yo Ma
  • Anthony McGill
  • Gabriela Montero
  • Itzhak Perlman

Composed and arranged by John Williams

Presidential Oath of Office

Administered to Barack H. Obama by the Honorable John G. Roberts Jr., Chief Justice of the United States.

U.S. Senate Photo Studio

  • Bible Used: The Lincoln Bible. The Lincoln Bible was the Bible used by president Abraham Lincoln at his presidential inauguration. The Bible is part of the collection of the Library of Congress. The Bible itself is an Oxford University Press edition published in 1853, has 1280 pages, and measures approximately 15 cm (6 in) in length and 10 cm (4 in) in width, and 4.5 cm in thickness, and is bound in burgundy red velvet with gilt edges.
  • Attire: Hart Schaffner Marx suit

Inaugural Address

‘Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious, and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America—they will be met.’

Read the address
(Time: 21 minutes, 21 seconds; Words: 2404)


  • Elizabeth Alexander


  • The Rev. Dr. Joseph E. Lowery

U.S. Senate Sergeant at Arms

The National Anthem

The United States Navy Band Sea Chanters


West Front,
U.S. Capitol
Washington, DC


Noon conditions: Temperature: 28°F with winds NNW at 13 mph, gusting to 23 mph. Few clouds at 4,500 feet, overcast at 25,000 feet.

Facts, Firsts & Precedents

  • Largest attendance of any event in the history of Washington, DC

  • Largest attendance of any Presidential Inauguration in U.S. history

  • First African American to hold the office of President of the United States

  • First citizen born in Hawaii to hold the office

  • Highest viewership ever of the swearing-in ceremonies on the Internet

  • First woman, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, to emcee the ceremony

  • First inaugural webcast to include captioning

  • First swearing-in ceremony to include an audio description

Inaugural Committee

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Theme: A New Birth of Freedom

The Presidential Inauguration of 2009 took place as the nation prepared to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth. The President-elect took the oath of office and addressed the nation from the West Front of the United States Capitol, looking across the National Mall toward the Lincoln Memorial, where many of the sixteenth President’s immortal words are inscribed. Although some inaugural traditions have changed since Lincoln’s time, the swearing-in ceremony continues to symbolize the ideals of renewal, continuity, and unity that he so often expressed.

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Slideshow and Video

Nail Driving Ceremony for the 2009 Inaugural Platform

See images of the Nail Driving Ceremony for the 2009 Inaugural Platform, the event that kicks-off the preparation for the Inaugural festivities in Washington, DC.

Inaugural Ceremonies for Barack Obama, January 20, 2009

U.S. Senate Recording Studio

The nation's first African American president took office while American troops were carrying out military actions in Iraq and Afghanistan and a financial crisis had plunged the economy into recession. Obama was also the first U.S. Senator to be elected president in forty-eight years, having defeated a fellow Senator, John McCain of Arizona, the Republican candidate. Chief Justice John Roberts administered the oath of office before an immense crowd, estimated at 1.8 million, as Obama swore on the same bible used by Abraham Lincoln in 1861.