Washington, D.C. - During the Presidential Inaugural luncheon in the Capitol this afternoon, Speaker Nancy Pelosi presented President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden two flags that were flown over the Capitol during the Inaugural Ceremony. Below are the Speaker's remarks, as prepared:
“Welcome all of you to Statuary Hall for this very special occasion.
“As you know, President Obama travelled to Washington this weekend by train. He began in Philadelphia - the birthplace of our Constitution - and was joined in Wilmington by Vice President Biden. They then went to Baltimore - the city where our national anthem was born.
“It was in Baltimore that the light from the bombardment of the city, ‘gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.'
“Today I have the privilege of presenting to the President and Vice President the flags that were there today - flying over the Capitol - during today's historic Inauguration.
“During our lunch, these flags have rested on a table used by Abraham Lincoln as he took the Presidential oath of office for the second time. On that day, he gave an Inaugural Address that some consider to be his greatest speech. He spoke of reconciliation, renewal, and unity for America. Today we heard that same vision from President Barack Obama.
“It is appropriate that the theme of this Inauguration is, ‘A New Birth of Freedom,' honoring the 200th anniversary of President Lincoln's birth.
“It is my honor as Speaker of the House, on behalf of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, to present these flags, symbols of our democracy, to the President and Vice President.
“I know you will govern our country as President Lincoln inspired us ‘with malice toward none; with charity for all' and as our Pledge to the Flag insists: ‘with liberty and justice for all.'”