My fellow Americans, earlier this week I had the honor of taking, for the second time, the oath of office as your President. The inaugural ceremony is simple, yet its meaning is profound. Every four years, the American people hold an inauguration to reaffirm our faith in liberty, and to celebrate the democratic institutions that preserve it. To place one's hand on the Bible and swear the oath is a humbling experience, and a reminder of the high trust and great responsibility that the presidency brings. With deep appreciation for your support, and mindful of the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead, I'm eager to begin the work of a new term.
In the years since I first swore to preserve, protect and defend our Constitution, our nation has been tested. Our enemies have found America more than equal to the task. In response to attacks on our home soil, we have captured or killed terrorists across the Earth. We have taken unprecedented steps to secure our homeland from future attacks, and our troops have liberated millions from oppression.
At home, thanks to pro-growth policies and the hard work of the American people, we overcame a recession and created over 2 million new jobs in the past year alone. Now we move forward. We remain in a war the United States will continue to lead — fighting terrorists abroad, so we do not have to face them here at home. We will strive to keep the world's most dangerous weapons out of the hands of terrorists and tyrants. And our nation will stand by the peoples of Afghanistan and Iraq as they build free and democratic societies in their own lands — because when America gives its word, America must keep its word.
As I stated in my inaugural address, our security at home increasingly depends on the success of liberty abroad. So we will continue to promote freedom, hope and democracy in the broader Middle East — and by doing so, defeat the despair, hopelessness and resentments that feed terror.
At home, too, we will expand freedom. We will continue to bring high standards and accountability to our public schools, so that every child can learn. We will transform our retirement and health systems, reform the legal system and simplify the tax code, so that all Americans enjoy the dignity and independence that comes from ownership. In this ownership society, every citizen will have a real stake in the promise of America. And our most valued institutions will be better prepared to meet the new challenges of a new time.
This week, Washington has been marked by pomp and circumstance. In a free nation, these ceremonies are more than pageantry. They underscore that public office is a public trust. America's elected leaders derive their authority from the consent of the American people, whom we serve. This is a high privilege, and that privilege carries a serious responsibility: to confront problems now, instead of passing them on to future generations.
As long as I hold this office, I promise that I will serve all Americans and will work to promote the unity of our great nation. And working together, we will secure the blessings of liberty, not only for ourselves, but for generations of Americans to come.
Thank you for listening.