“I was very excited to be a part of it.”
Orwig said she appreciated the president's remarks about sustainable energy sources and his call for Americans to work together.
After the speech and lunch with members of Congress, the president and Biden, along with their wives, walked part of the inaugural parade route from the Capitol to the White House before settling in at the viewing stand.
Delivering his address on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Obama said Americans must continue the work of civil rights pioneers and extend the nation's promises of liberty and equality to women in the workforce, gays hoping to marry, immigrants, people trying to exercise their right to vote and children threatened by gun violence.
“Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia, to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for and cherished and always safe from harm,” the president said.
Jonathan Townsend, 23, of Tulsa, said the president's remarks, coming on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, were particularly powerful and made him think about “how far we've come in regard to equality and tolerance and even justice.”
Townsend, the leader of Oklahoma's NAACP chapter for young people, said he was thrilled to be at an event “where so many people seemed so energetic and so inspired to make the country a better place.”
Obama, who is in the midst of a fight with congressional Republicans over spending and reforming entitlements, said hard choices would have to be made.
But, responding to Republican calls for entitlement program cuts — and the apparent sentiments of his vanquished Republican rival Mitt Romney — the president said, “The commitments we make to each other through Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security, these things do not sap our initiative, they strengthen us.
“They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great.”