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It was a seemingly wistful moment at the halfway mark of his presidency, before the celebratory parade and the evening’s galas.
Shortly after exhorting the United States to continue its “never-ending journey” to live up to the ideals of its founders, on his way off the platform at the West Front of the Capitol, President Barack Obama stopped to drink in the scene before him.
“I want to take a look one more time,” he told those surrounding him. “I’m not going to see this again.”
And so, with his oath of office taken – again – and the speech delivered, the president stood aside for 24 seconds on the chilly Monday afternoon, letting the crowd that had joined him for his formal, public second inauguration file past.
It was one of the few quiet moments on an otherwise jam-packed day. Obama stole another such moment with his wife, at the first of two official inaugural balls they were scheduled to attend Monday night.