Obama kicks off inauguration weekend with volunteering

By Agence France-Presse
Saturday, January 19, 2013 11:39 EDT
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US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama (R) wave as they board Air Force One on January 5, 2013 upon departure from Hickam Air Force Base in Honolulu, Hawaii. (AFP)
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Americans kicked off Barack Obama’s inauguration weekend Saturday with a day of service, with the president and his family volunteering their efforts in Washington.

The president will participate in a local project around 11:30 am local time (1630 GMT).

Meanwhile, vice president Joe Biden and his family were at the DC Armory in the capital to help volunteers pack 100,000 care kits for deployed and wounded US soldiers, veterans and emergency personnel.

Obama added a day of service to the inauguration festivities during his first go-round in 2009, when the jeans-clad newly-elected president pulled up his sleeves to repaint a homeless shelter in the capital.

He also visited wounded solders at the Walter Reed military hospital, on the outskirts of Washington.

Hundreds of events are planned across the country starting Saturday, including environmental cleanups, clothing and food drives for the needy, educational workshops for children and school renovations.

The National Day of Service is dedicated to Martin Luther King Jr., whose birthday was Tuesday and in whose honor each year, on the third Monday in January, the US marks a national holiday.

This evening, soldiers and their children are invited to a concert organized by First Lady Michelle Obama in Washington, featuring a number of celebrity headliners including Katy Perry, three actors from the television show “Glee,” Usher and the hip hop duo Black Violin.

Obama’s second term will officially start on Sunday at noon, as dictated by the Constitution, after a private swearing in at the White House.

Public festivities are set for Monday, when Obama will re-take his oath of office in front of the Capitol before hundreds of thousands of spectators.

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
AFP journalists cover wars, conflicts, politics, science, health, the environment, technology, fashion, entertainment, the offbeat, sports and a whole lot more in text, photographs, video, graphics and online.
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