President Barack Obama took his ceremonial oath of office today, beginning his second term as the country’s 44th president. Addressing a divided nation represented by a polarized Congress, Obama stressed the importance of seeking common ground in Washington. “My fellow Americans, we are made for this moment and we will seize it, so long as we seize it together,” he said.
Obama already had been sworn in at a private White House ceremony on Jan. 20, the date mandated by the Constitution. Since that fell on a Sunday, the public ceremony outside the U.S. Capitol was delayed. That shift meant the country’s first black president celebrated his second inauguration on the day Americans honor civil-rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.
Diversity was a big part of the day’s ceremonies, both in Obama’s speech and in the lineup. The crowd of about 700,000 — large but not as massive as the estimated 1.8 million people who flocked to Washington, D.C., in 2009 — heard an invocation from former NAACP chairperson Myrlie Evers-Williams, songs from Beyonce and Kelly Clarkson, and a reading from Cuban-American poet Richard Blanco, the first Latino and the first gay inaugural poet.
We’ve collected some of the most striking photos of the events and will continue to add new images as the celebrations continue:
A woman smiles on the National Mall during the ceremonial swearing-in ceremonies on Jan. 21 (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)
Singer Beyonce performs the national anthem during the public ceremonial inauguration. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Grammy winner Kelly Clarkson sings "My Country Tis of Thee" during inauguration ceremonies on Jan. 21. (Brian Snyder/Reuters)
President Barack Obama recites his oath of office as first lady Michelle Obama looks on during swearing-in ceremonies in front of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 21. Jim Bourg/Reuters)
Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts administers the oath of office to President Barack Obama as first lady Michelle Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha look on during ceremonies at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 21. (Jim Bourg/Reuters)
Vice President Joe Biden is sworn in by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor as wife Jill Biden and son Beau Biden look on. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
From left, Andrea Waters, Martin Luther King III, Rev. Al Sharpton, Beyonce Knowles and Jay-Z pose before the start of the inauguration ceremony. (Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post)
School children attend the 57th Presidential Inauguration on Jan. 21. (Mladen Antonov/AFP/Getty Images)
Students from New York City's PS 22 Elementary School Chorus perform prior to the start of the 57th Presidential Inauguration Ceremony at the United States Capitol. (Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post)
A choir gathers on the steps of the U.S. Capitol for the Presidential Inauguration. (Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images)
President Barack Obama hugs his daughter Malia after being sworn in on Jan. 20 in a private ceremony. (Brendan Smialowski/Pool/Reuters)
President Barack Obama takes the official oath of office from Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts at the White House on Jan. 20. (Brendan Smialowski/Pool/Reuters)
President Barack Obama takes the oath of office from Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts as first lady Michelle Obama holds the bible and their daughters Malia and Sasha look on in the Blue Room of the White House. (Larry Downing/Reuters)
Vice President Joe Biden kisses a member of his family after taking the oath of office. (Kevin Lamarque-Pool/Getty Images)
Vice President Joe Biden takes the oath of office from U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor during the official swearing-in ceremony at the Naval Observatory on Jan. 20. (Carolyn Kaster-Pool/Getty Images)
How are you marking Inauguration Day? What are your hopes for the next four years?