Barack Hussein Obama was sworn in as the 44th and the first black president of the United States of America at noon on January 20 2009 in a glittering ceremony which was telecast live all over the world. Hundreds of thousands of people erupted in roars of approval on the broad National Malls ground in Washington DC as they watched Obama stand with one hand raised, one hand on a Bible used to swear in Abraham Lincoln in 1861, and repeat the brief oath to become the President and succeed George W. Bush. In his inaugural speech shortly after taking the oath of office, Obama spoke of the many and serious challenges facing America but said they will be met.
In the evening, President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle were the star attraction at the Neighborhood Ball, the first of 10 inauguration celebrations they planned to attend. For the inaugural dance, the President and the First Lady did a slow and dignified two-step while Beyonce sang the Etta James classic "At Last". The President turned the First Lady once in an underarm turn. They then quicken the pace a few minutes later as Shakira, Mary J. Blidge, Faith Hill and Mariah Carey sang along Stevie Wonder to his "Signed, Sealed and Delivered". This song had been played at nearly every one of Obama's rallies during the election campaign.
At their second ball, the President and the First Lady were all lovey-dovey while dancing. "I hope all of you will remember what this campaign and hopefully what this presidency is all about" Obama said. "It's about you pitching in, working together, working past our differences in order to create the kind of world we want to pass on to our children and America." At the Commander-In-Chief Ball, Vice President Joe Biden paid tribute to the nation's military personnel and then said he wasn't looking forward to his moment in the spotlight - the dancing that is. " The thing that frightens me the most (is) I'm going to have to stand in that circle and dance in a minute" he remarked.
The other balls that took place that evening included the Western Ball, Eastern States Ball, Biden Home States Ball, Midwestern Ball, Western States Ball and the Heroes Red White & Bull Ball where country artists Keni Thomas and Peter Yarrow and Noel Paul Stookey of Peter, Paul and Mary performed. Guests attending the balls had to pay anything from $75 to thousands more for a package deal. Despite the formal attire and celebrity entertainment, balls aren't overly fancy affairs. Lines often are long to get in, go to the bathroom or check your coat, and the food is sometimes not up to your expectations. To President Barack Obama of the USA - Congratulations!