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The inauguration speech: memorable quotes from past addresses

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On April 30th, 1789, George Washington stood before both houses of Congress and delivered the first inaugural address as the nation’s first president. In marking the historic moment, Washington said:

“The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty and the destiny of the republican model of government are justly considered, perhaps, as deeply, as finally, staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.”

Since then, each president has used the inaugural address as an opportunity to reflect on the challenges we’ve faced and the progress we’ve made together as a nation. Take a look back at a few memorable lines from inaugural addresses:

"We wish peace, but we wish the peace of justice, the peace of righteousness. We wish it because we think it is right and not because we are afraid."
—Theodore Roosevelt in his 1905 address, noting America’s rise as a global force.

“With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds."
—Abraham Lincoln in his 1865 address, reflecting on four years of the Civil War.

"This great Nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself."
—Franklin D. Roosevelt in his 1933 address, facing an America at the depth of the Great Depression.

"My fellow Americans: Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: Ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man."
—John F. Kennedy in his 1961 address, appealing to peace in the early years of the Cold War.

"Justice requires us to remember that when any citizen denies his fellow, saying, 'His color is not mine,' or 'His beliefs are strange and different,' in that moment he betrays America, though his forebears created this nation."
—Lyndon B. Johnson in his 1965 address, expressing a bedrock principle of the Civil Rights movement.

“Above all, we must realize that no arsenal or no weapon in the arsenals of the world is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women.”
—Ronald Reagan in his 1981 address, declaring America’s strength during the Cold War.

“America is never wholly herself unless she is engaged in high moral principle. We as a people have such a purpose today. It is to make kinder the face of the nation and gentler the face of the world.”
—George H.W. Bush in his 1989 address, anticipating the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union.

“The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit, to choose our better history, to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.”
—Barack Obama in his 2009 address, reaffirming the founding principles of our country.

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Inaugural Weekend is almost here—how are you celebrating?

How are you celebrating?

We’re eight days away from the start of Inauguration Weekend and folks across the country are getting ready to mark the historic occasion. Whether you’re going to a National Day of Service event in your community, hosting a watch party with friends, or making the trip to D.C. for the big day, there are many ways to celebrate the 57th Presidential Inauguration. Share your plans for Inauguration Weekend and make sure your friends know how you’re planning to celebrate.

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Seguro Que Si: bringing salsa music to the inaugural parade

Seguro Que Si

Seguro Que Si, from Kissimmee, Florida, is 10-piece salsa band made up of musicians from Osceola County School for the Arts. After forming just over a year ago, they set out with the goal of playing Latin music concentrating on a strong horn section and steady percussion.

Today, the band performs at school district expositions and Hispanic heritage events. Their biggest performance, however, will be on January 21st, as they will be showcasing their signature salsa tunes in President Obama’s inaugural parade.

Maxwell Frost is the bandleader and creator of Seguro Que Si. At just 15 years old, he embodies the youthfulness of the band, as all of the members are between 15 and 17 years old.

What started as after school jam sessions has turned into an organized salsa band—and now a role in the 57th Presidential Inauguration.

“When I found out we would be playing in the parade, I just couldn’t believe it—President Obama has been the biggest inspiration in my life. He’s inspired me to do things I’ve never done before. I’m running for president of my school next year. He showed me that anything is possible. I wanted to go to the inauguration anyway, so being able to perform with my band is an amazing feeling.”

Frost believes his band’s inclusion in the parade means they represent something much larger than themselves. “We know the Latino community played a huge role in helping re-elect President Obama. We have to bring that with us. We are representing not only our home state of Florida but, most importantly, we are representing the Latino community as a whole.

Frost says there’s still a lot of preparation to do before the parade, though not all of it has to do with their music. “The music is the last thing we’re worrying about at this point. Now we’re just fundraising and making itineraries for parents and generally just getting ready for this amazing opportunity.”

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