This is IN THE NEWS in VOA
United States got a new president this week. President Barack Obama quickly got to work in
his first days in office. In one of his
first official actions, he ordered the closure of the American detention center
at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, within a year.
He also ordered a study of military trials of suspected terrorists. And, he banned the most severe methods of
The orders came just two
days after Mister Obama was sworn-in as president in front of the largest crowd
ever in Washington, D.C. Media reports
say up to one million eight hundred thousand people attended the presidential inauguration
Tuesday. Before then, the largest crowd
ever in Washington was one million two hundred thousand people. That happened at the inauguration of President
Lyndon Johnson in nineteen sixty-five.
crowd this week represented a mix of Americans - people of different races and
religions, older adults and young people. They filled the long grassy area from the
steps of the United States Capitol building to the Lincoln Memorial. Centuries ago, the Capitol was built partly
by slaves. The memorial is where the
civil rights leader Martin Luther King Junior gave his "I Have a Dream" speech.
in front of the Capitol, Barack Obama became the first African-American president
of the United States. Mister Obama is
taking command of a nation at war and an economy in crisis. In his inaugural speech, he promised to begin
again what he called, the work of remaking America.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: "What is required of us now is a new era of
responsibility – a recognition on the part of every American, that we have
duties to ourselves, our nation and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly
accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so
satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to
a difficult task."
new president also had a message for the world.
He spoke of America's desire for peace, and to seek the common good.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: "To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow
conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West – know that your people
will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling
to power through corruption and deceit and silencing of dissent, know that you
are on the wrong side of history, but that we will extend a hand if you are
willing to unclench your fist."
President Obama also said he
plans to take American foreign policy in a new direction.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: "Know that America is a friend of each nation and
every man, woman and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and we are
ready to lead once more."
his swearing-in, the president joined members of Congress for a luncheon in the
Capitol. He then made his way to the
White House as part of a traditional inaugural parade.
of the day were followed by celebrations at ten official balls throughout
Washington. President Obama and his wife
Michelle attended each one. The next
morning, prayers were offered for the new president at the National Cathedral. Then, almost two years since announcing his
candidacy for America's highest office, Mister Obama began the work of president.
that's IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English, written by Brianna Blake. I'm Doug Johnson.