After an historic election in 2008, Barack Obama took the oath of office as the 44th President of the United States. There was a sign in the crowd that read, “We have overcome,” and an estimated 1.8 million crowded onto National Mall to catch a glimpse of the first African American President—many through tears in their eyes.
Obama’s theme of national unity, based on speeches by Abraham Lincoln, resonated with Americans who were tired of the polarization between the two parties in Washington and the subsequent hostility that was magnified by the growing popularity of social networks. Americans were surely ready for change. They were fed up with war and wary of the prognostications on Wall Street. Little did they know how deeply the financial crisis would affect every aspect of their lives—and the president’s.
On that day though, the idea of a new start for the nation crossed party lines and did unite the country—for a while. Take a look at the faces and joy during the 2009 Inauguration and try to remember, for one moment, what it was like to be a united nation. To view photos of the 2009 inauguration, click here.