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Published on Jan 22, 2009
Hello and welcome to a UPI White House Weekly.
America's leadership has changed hands. On Tuesday, Barack Obama took the oath of office as the 44th President of the United States with his family by his side. Joe Biden was sworn in as Vice-President. An estimated 2 million people descended on the National Mall to witness the historic event. In his much-anticipated inaugural speech, Obama spoke about the challenges that America faces but also reminded the crowd that he is optimistic and determined. He also pointed to America's past as cause for hope for its future. The ceremony ended with outgoing President George Bush departing from the nation's capitol in a helicopter for his home state of Texas.
The day continued with more pomp and circumstance. Marching bands, Civil War re-enactors and musical troupes paraded down Pennsylvania Avenue. Obama and his wife, Michelle, stepped out of their limousine on the way to the White House and were greeted by rousing cheers. The nearly 2-mile route was jammed with enthusiastic but frozen onlookers. The new first Family watched the remainder of the parade from the reviewing stand in front of the White House.
And the historic day didn't end there. The new President and his wife danced their way through 10 official inaugural balls. The Obamas took their first spin at the Neighborhood Ball on Tuesday. The couple was serenaded by Beyonce, singing "At Last" by Etta James. They then moved on to the Home State ball for Illinois and Hawaii and then the Commander-in-Chief ball honoring military members and wounded veterans. The Obamas ended their evening at the Eastern States Ball before arriving back at the White House just before 1 AM. Throughout the evening, the First Lady wore a long white gown made of ivory silk chiffon and embellished with Swarovski crystal rhinestones.