It was a moment people will remember for decades, whether they stood cheering with the masses on the National Mall or sat in an office on Main Street.
"We stood in the street listening to Barack speak," said Andover native Danielle Johnson, 19, who was in Washington, D.C., for yesterday's inauguration. "There were so many people very excited, cheering, crying, but when he spoke, it was quiet, very serious."
At midday, millions across the country — and the world — stopped what they were doing to watch Barack Hussein Obama take the oath of office to become the 44th president of the United States.
Not only is Obama the nation's first black president, he also is entering office with one of the highest approval ratings of any incoming president. Expectations also are high as the country deals with a recession and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Obama's message of change that led him to victory over Republican John McCain last November was still there yesterday, but had a more somber note of responsibility attached to it.
Obama called on the country to join him and Vice President Joe Biden in "remaking America" by ushering in "a new era of responsibility."
"Let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested, we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter," Obama told the more than 1 million people who descended upon the capital. "Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and begin again the work of remaking America."
Obama, 47, a Democrat and former Illinois senator, took over the presidency from Republican George W. Bush, with both men embracing at the Capitol and walking out together.