Obama's Inaugural Address: 'We Must Pick Ourselves Up'

President Obama's inaugural address is weighted with expectation and promise.

ByABC News
January 20, 2009, 2:27 PM

Jan. 20, 2009— -- Barack Obama has now inherited the burdens of the presidency. Early in his inaugural address, he made it crystal clear that there are indeed burdens: "We are in the midst of a crisis. ... Our nation is at war. ... Our economy is badly weakened. ... Our health care is too costly. ... Our schools fail too many. ... The ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet."

Obama did not stop there: "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."

Then, Obama made the turn from a cloudy future toward the sunlight: "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."

The brand-new president pointed to America's past as cause for hope for its future as he recalled the immigrants who built the nation and those who "fought and died in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sanh ...they saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction."

Well, what then about today's generations? Obama's answer: "Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive. ... Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions, that time has surely passed."

Then came what may prove to be one of the most oft-quoted sentences of his address: "Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and begin again the work of remaking America."