For the second and final time, President Barack Obama took the oath of office Monday before a crowd of hundreds of thousands outside the U.S. Capitol.
His hand resting on bibles owned by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Abraham Lincoln, Obama began his second term with a more subdued ceremony than the one four years ago, when 1.8 million people flocked to the National Mall to witness the inauguration of the country's first black president.
This time around, crowds of 700,000 people were expected.
While smaller than last time, it was poised to be the largest second-term inauguration ceremony in history.
Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts administered the oath of office.
Vice President Joe Biden also took his oath of office Monday, which was administered by Bronx native and Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
Following a performance of "Hail to the Chief" and a 21-gun salute, Obama delivered an 18-minute inaugural address where he acknowledged the state of the country is markedly different from the bleak outlook that greeted him four years ago.
"A decade of war is now ending. An economic recovery has begun. America's possibilities are limitless," Obama said. "We are made for this moment and we will seize it so long as we seize it together."
Obama also said the country cannot succeed when a few at the top do well and a growing population of Americans struggle to make ends meet.
"We believe that America's prosperity must rest upon the broad shoulders of a rising middle class," Obama said.
The president promised to respond to the threat of climate change, saying that a failure to do so would betray future generations. He also said women need to be given equal pay and gay Americans treated like everyone else under the law.
Invoking the deadly shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, President Obama said that the country's work is not done until all children - from those in Detroit to those in Newtown - know that they are cared for and safe from harm.
"That is our generation's task: To make these words, these rights, these values - of life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness - real for every American," Obama said.
The president also referenced the Stonewall Riots in his inaugural speech.
Referring to great revolutions in the country's history, the president said the quest for freedom led us through "Seneca Falls, Selma and Stonewall."
He said the principle that all men are created equal must apply to every citizen of our nation.
"Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law," Obama said. "For if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well."
In 1969, members of the gay community protested what they called frequent police harassment at the Stonewall Inn in Manhattan, a place many see as the birthplace of the gay rights movement.
NY1 spoke with people at the Stonewall Inn Monday night, who said the president's mention of the protest was a significant moment in his speech.
"Everything he said, it was the most liberal, gay-friendly, women's-rights-friendly inauguration we've ever seen," said one person.
"Finally, the president is speaking, and he is a very educated man, and I think he will get things moving," said a second.
"I actually think it was a good idea," said a third. "It was something worth hearing, something everybody needs to pay attention to because it's, I think, something that this, you know, we're headed in the right direction as far as the country goes."
Monday's event had a heavy New York presence, as Sen. Charles Schumer, the chairman of the inauguration committee, made the opening remarks and introductions.
Students from P.S. 22 on Staten Island performed on the Capitol steps ahead of the official ceremony followed by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, who sang ahead of the invocation.
Donations of more than $25,000 helped the students make the trip for the performance.
Big-name stars Kelly Clarkson and Beyonce also performed renditions of "America" and "The Star-Spangled Banner", respectively.
After the ceremony, President Obama attended a luncheon and ceremonial document signing before marching in the traditional inaugural parade down Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House.
The president and First Lady Michelle Obama waved to cheering crowds after exiting their limousine during the inaugural parade, which runs from Capitol Hill to the White House.
The parade also included Vice President Biden and his family, along with nearly 9,000 other people, floats and marching bands.
Thousands waited in massive security lines to get a parade-viewing spot available to the general public.
The president wrapped up his Inauguration Day with a dance with the first lady.
After addressing the crowd at the Commander-in-Chief Ball, the President was joined by his wife on stage.
The first couple danced while Jennifer Hudson sang "Let's Stay Together."
Obama attended two inaugural balls Monday night, and supporters lucky enough to go were thrilled.
"What brings me out is the president, and I'm glad to be here," said one. "I'm a supporter of his, and I wouldn't miss it for the world."
"I'm really excited," said another. "I went to an inaugural ball back in Clinton's time, and I never actually got in the door because it was so crowded, came too late. So this year, we made sure to come very early so we could be here to celebrate and, thrilled. Thrilled with the president. I'm so happy."
Both President Obama and Vice President Biden were officially sworn in Sunday at private ceremonies.
NY1 Online: Obama Takes Oath Of Office, Gives Inauguration Speech
NY1: Obama Takes Second Oath Of Office, Says U.S. Must "Seize" Moment
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U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts administers the oath of office for President Barack Obama, and Obama gives his inaugural address on January 21, 2013.