President-elect Barack Obama,delivering a pledge to take up the work that the patriots of American independence started here,launched a thematic train ride that will deliver the incoming President to Washington.
In a town hall styled opening rally on Saturday morning,with about 200 campaign supporters invited to an address at the start of this historic day,Obama declared: We are here to mark the beginning of our journey to Washington,and this is fitting,because it was here in this city that our American journey began.
We are here today not simply to pay tribute to our first patriots but to take up the work that they began, Obama said in Philadelphia. What is required is a new declaration of independence,not just in our nation,but in our own lives from ideology and small thinking,prejudice and bigotry an appeal not to our easy instincts but to our better angels.
Before boarding the train for his whistle-stop journey to the capital,Obama delivered a brief but inspirational address that evoked not only the fathers of American independence,but also the emancipator of slaves and protector of the American union whose model he will invoke all day and into his inaugural celebration,Abraham Lincoln.
Starting now,lets take up in our own lives the work of perfecting our union, Obama said. Lets build a government that is responsible to the people,and accept our own responsibilities as citizens to hold our government accountable.
With his train ride and his ceremonial arrival in Washington,Obama will evoke the same historical imagery that he employed to kick off his presidential campaign: The spirit of Lincoln.
In his journey to the capital,Obama is re-tracing the final stages of the train trip that Lincoln made to assume the presidency,beginning the fanfare for an inaugural celebration in which the Great Emancipator will be an unmistakable presence.