|U. S. President
The War on Discord
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over President Barack Obama's Inauguration
Address made 20 January 2009.
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My fellow citizens,
I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the
sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the
generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.
Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides
of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and
raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in
high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbearers, and true to our
So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.
That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network
of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the
part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age.
Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too
many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and
threaten our planet.
These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a
sapping of confidence across our land — a nagging fear that America's decline is inevitable, and that the
next generation must lower its sights.
Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not
be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America — they will be met.
On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.
On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and
worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.
We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. 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.
In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned.
Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-
hearted — for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it
has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things — some celebrated but more often men and
women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.
For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.
For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard
For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn.
Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that
we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than
all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.
This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our
workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and
services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains
undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant
decisions — that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and
begin again the work of remaking America.
that began "The War on
Discord" is as said on 20
January 2009, the day
Barack Hussein Obama II
was inaugurated as
president of these United
States and protector of
|<-- Here's where
The War on