Sen. Alexander speaks before Obama inauguration: Read speech

WASHINGTON (WVLT) -- Tennessee got its moment in the spotlight during Monday's opening ceremonies as Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) spoke briefly minutes before President Barack Obama takes the oath of office.

Alexander introduced Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who will give the oath of office to Vice-President Joe Biden.

Alexander serves as vice-chairman of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural ceremonies.

The text of Alexander’s remarks, as prepared, follows:

“The late Alex Haley, the author of Roots, lived his life by these six words: Find the Good and Praise It.

“Today we praise the American tradition of transferring or reaffirming immense power as we inaugurate the President of the United States.

“We do this in a peaceful, orderly way.

“There is no mob, no coup, no insurrection.

“This is a moment when millions stop and watch.

“A moment most of us always will remember.

“A moment that is the most conspicuous and enduring symbol of our democracy.

“How remarkable that this has survived for so long in such a complex country with so much power at stake—this freedom to vote for our leaders and the restraint to respect the results.

“Last year, a tour guide at Mt. Vernon told me that our first president, George Washington, posed this question: ‘What is most important of this grand experiment, the United States?’

“And then Washington gave this answer: ‘Not the election of the first president, but the election of its second president. The peaceful transition of power is what will separate this country from every other country in the world.’

“Today we celebrate, because this is the 57th inauguration of the American President.

“Find the Good and Praise It.

“Now, it is my honor to introduce Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, Sonia Sotomayor, who will administer the oath of office to the Vice President.

“Everyone please stand.”


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