As Barack Obama readies himself to be sworn in as President of a nation in economic distress, many comparisons are being drawn to his inaugural speech and that of Franklin D. Roosevelt's during the Great Depression.
Obama is an outspoken admirer of both Abraham Lincoln and Roosevelt, and his recent speeches -- including at the Lincoln Memorial concert Sunday -- illustrate that. A couple of Obama's lines are reminiscent of what the nation heard in inaugural speeches in 1861 and 1933, when the economy was in worse shape than today.
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, Obama said Sunday from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
Obama's inauguration speech is expected to last about 15-20 minutes, which is on the short side compared to most inaugural addresses.
This is going to be a very special speech, said Stephen Hess of the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., according to the Herald Net.
I've never seen a nation so behind a president and so anxious for him to succeed, said Hess, who worked in the Eisenhower and Nixon administration and was an adviser to Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter. We as a nation are looking forward to a good speech.
The speech's theme will be an era of responsibility which is a response to months of headlines about the country's economic meltdown and outrage over corporate greed and executive bonuses.
The speech will begin shortly after his swearing-in with Michelle Obama holding President Lincoln's Bible.
After his address, Obama will take up residence in the White House, which was built partly by African slaves in the early 1800s. It is symbolic that an African-American man will now live there it testifies the power of change in America and shows that both Lincoln and Martin Luther King dreams have finally been achieved.