Citizens, arise – answer the call of history
…what binds this nation together is not the colors of our skin or the tenets of our faith or the origins of our names. What makes us exceptional – what makes us American – is our allegiance to an idea, articulated in a declaration made more than two centuries ago:
Today we continue a never-ending journey, to bridge the meaning of those words with the realities of our time…history tells us that while these truths may be self-evident, they have never been self-executing…while freedom is a gift from God, it must be secured by His people here on Earth…
We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths – that all of us are created equal – is the star that guides us still…
…the oath I have sworn before you today…was an oath to God and country, not party or faction….They are the words of citizens, and they represent our greatest hope.
You and I, as citizens, have the power to set this country’s course. You and I, as citizens, have the obligation to shape the debates of our time – not only with the votes we cast, but with the voices we lift in defense of our most ancient values and enduring ideals.
Let each of us now embrace, with solemn duty and awesome joy, what is our lasting birthright. With common effort and common purpose, with passion and dedication, let us answer the call of history, and carry into an uncertain future that precious light of freedom.
22 Jan 2013
Second inaugural speech » Full text