President Obama on Wednesday announced a major step toward "diplomatic relations with the Republic of Cuba" by saying the U.S. and Cuba would reopen embassies in each other's countries.

"This is a historic step forward in our efforts to normalize relations with the Cuban government and people and begin a new chapter with our neighbors in the Americas," Obama said in a statement in the Rose Garden with Vice President Joe Biden at his side.

"This is what change looks like," he said later in his remarks, referring Secretary of State John Kerry's plans to travel to Cuba later this summer and hoist the American flag above the U.S. embassy in Havana.

When the U.S. shuttered its embassy on the island in 1961, the year Obama was born, "I don't think anyone expected that it would take more than half a century before it reopened."

Read more on WashingtonExaminer.com