A historic occasion

By Chuck Kajer, Managing Editor

On Tuesday, Jan. 20, Barack Obama will be sworn in as the 44th president of the United States.

Perhaps more so than in previous years, this inauguration will be a historic occasion. Mr. Obama becomes the first African-American to be elected to the nation's highest office. This, despite the fact that he was born in the early 1960s, at a time when some states still authorized segregated facilities for different races. How things have changed.

But the most significant historical aspect is one that plays out every time a newly-elected president takes office. The inauguration will mark another peaceful transition of power. In many parts of the world, the only way a government can have a transition of power is by bloodshed. But since the Constitution was adopted in 1789, our nation has the potential for a peaceful transition of power every four years. That our system has worked this way for more than 200 years says something about our nation.

Mr. Obama will repeat the words prescribed by the U.S. Constitution, and first uttered by George Washington on April 30, 1789, on the balcony of the Federal Hall in New York City: I swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States

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