US President George Bush officially begins his second term in office today with a inauguration ceremony in Washington. There have been celebrations across the city ahead of his swearing-in this afternoon. An open air concert in the shadow of the White House was just one of the events put on for Republicans. Bush used the opportunity to express his vision of America’s role in the defence of liberty.
“We have a calling from beyond the stars to stand for freedom and America will always be faithful to that cause,” he said.
Eager to face up to his critics over US policy in Iraq, the president is set to return to the theme of freedom for his inaugural address. Not all Americans share his vision of what freedom and democracy means however and the anti-war theme will be central to a number of expected protests along the route.
There have also been criticisms that America should not be spending vast sums on celebrating when it is at war and after the Asian tsunami disaster. But the whole event may be cut short by a blast of wintry weather that threatens to turn the President’s parade into a bone-chilling affair.