Musical performers scheduled for the event include Beyonce, Mary J. Blige, Bono, Garth Brooks, Sheryl Crow, Renee Fleming, Josh Groban, Herbie Hancock, Heather Headley, John Legend, Jennifer Nettles, John Mellencamp, Usher Raymond IV, Shakira, Bruce Springsteen, James Taylor, will.i.am, and Stevie Wonder. Among those reading historical passages will be Jamie Foxx, Martin Luther King III, Queen Latifah and Denzel Washington. The Rt. Reverend V. Gene Robinson will give the invocation. Rob Mathes will be the music director and arranger for the backing band, which will support all of the artists.
[Update 4:10 PM]: Barack is speaking to the crowd now, warm up for Tuesday?
[Update 4:17 PM]: Text of Speech:
I want to thank all the speakers and performers for reminding us, through song and through words, just what it is that we love about America. And I want to thank all of you for braving the cold and the crowds and traveling in some cases thousands of miles to join us here today. Welcome to Washington, and welcome to this celebration of American renewal.
In the course of our history, only a handful of generations have been asked to confront challenges as serious as the ones we face right now. Our nation is at war. Our economy is in crisis. Millions of Americans are losing their jobs and their homes; they're worried about how they'll afford college for their kids or pay the stack of bills on their kitchen table. And most of all, they are anxious and uncertain about the future - about whether this generation of Americans will be able to pass on what's best about this country to our children and their children.
I won't pretend that meeting any one of these challenges will be easy. It will take more than a month or a year, and it will likely take many. Along the way there will be setbacks and false starts and days that test our fundamental resolve as a nation.
But despite all of this - despite the enormity of the task that lies ahead - I stand here today as hopeful as ever that the United States of America will endure - that the dream of our founders will live on in our time.
What gives me that hope is what I see when I look out across this mall. For in these monuments are chiseled those unlikely stories that affirm our unyielding faith - a faith that anything is possible in America. Rising before us stands a memorial to a man who led a small band of farmers and shopkeepers in revolution against the army of an Empire, all for the sake of an idea. On the ground below is a tribute to a generation that withstood war and depression - men and women like my grandparents who toiled on bomber assembly lines and marched across Europe to free the world from tyranny's grasp. Directly in front of us is a pool that still reflects the dream of a King, and the glory of a people who marched and bled so that their children might be judged by their character's content. And behind me, watching over the union he saved, sits the man who in so many ways made this day possible.
And yet, as I stand here tonight, what gives me the greatest hope of all is not the stone and marble that surrounds us today, but what fills the spaces in between. It is you - Americans of every race and region and station who came here because you believe in what this country can be and because you want to help us get there.
It is the same thing that gave me hope from the day we began this campaign for the presidency nearly two years ago; a belief that if we could just recognize ourselves in one another and bring everyone together - Democrats, Republicans, and Independents; Latino, Asian, and Native American; black and white, gay and straight, disabled and not - then not only would we restore hope and opportunity in places that yearned for both, but maybe, just maybe, we might perfect our union in the process.
This is what I believed, but you made this belief real. You proved once more that people who love this country can change it. And as I prepare to assume the presidency, yours are the voices I will take with me every day I walk into that Oval Office - the voices of men and women who have different stories but hold common hopes; who ask only for what was promised us as Americans - that we might make of our lives what we will and see our children climb higher than we did.
It is this thread that binds us together in common effort; that runs through every memorial on this mall; that connects us to all those who struggled and sacrificed and stood here before.
It is how this nation has overcome the greatest differences and the longest odds - because there is no obstacle that can stand in the way of millions of voices calling for change.
That is the belief with which we began this campaign, and that is how we will overcome what ails us now. There is no doubt that our road will be long. That our climb will be steep. But never forget that the true character of our nation is revealed not during times of comfort and ease, but by the right we do when the moment is hard. I ask you to help me reveal that character once more, and together, we can carry forward as one nation, and one people, the legacy of our forefathers that we celebrate today.
[Update 4:22 PM]: Beyonce Singign "America" (and Sasha and Malia look frozen in the background, I'm glad this is almost over)
[Update 4:26 PM]: Barack and Family are exiting now, I'll have pics up in like 5 minutes :o)
[Update 4:26 PM]: The Slideshow, pics are in some order, but mostly random:
I'll keep adding pics to the Slideshow as they come in, so refresh every once in a while :o)
Honestly, I thought it was a very nice program. HBO did a great job with the camera shots, it was all very beautifully done. The performers were ON SPOT, and the speakers did a great job. Jamie was my favorite speaker, and Garth Brooks was my fav performance (I know, shocked me too) followed VERY closely by Stevie. HBO will be replaying the event in full at 7:30 and I think 11:30. The HBO feed is still up for me in my room (I only have basic cable in my room), so if you want to catch the replay and you don't normally have cable, you should be able to see it.
[Update 5:16 PM]: Here's Obama's speech:
[Update 7:30 PM]: Hey guys, sorry I didn't update sooner, but the replay is on now, only about 30 minutes in. But you missed Springsteen if that was the performance you really wanted to see, I think you missed Jamie and Mary J too.
I'm searching YouTube for performance videos now
Bruce Springsteen (the sound is good, but I'll have to keep looking to find a better vid):
Mary J. Blige:
Bettye Lavette and Jon Bon Jovi:
Josh Groban and Heather Headley (Intro by Queen Latifah):
Will.I.Am, Herbie Hancock, and Sheryl Crow:
Usher, Stevie Wonder, and Shakira:
U2 (complete with shout-out to "Joe the Biden) :o):
[Update 8:54 PM]: There will be one more replay at I think 11:30. Also, I updated the slideshow (there are now 100 pics), again they are pretty random. I tried to put some of them in logical order, and I ended it with the pic of Obama speaking because it's a great pic.
It was great fun watching it with all of you! And tips, recs, and comments are always welcome. Oh wait, I didn't do a tip jar. LOL. So I guess just recs and comments are welcome!