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Obamas Cap Historic Day with Night of Dancing at Inaugural Balls

  • Deborah Block

Following President Barack Obama's historic inauguration Tuesday, he and wife Michelle had a busy first evening attending inaugural balls. Thousands of people also celebrated Mr. Obama's inauguration, both at the 10 official balls the First Couple attended and the many unofficial parties held around the city of Washington, DC.

President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle danced to the music of pop star Stevie Wonder at the Neighborhood Ball, billed as an event for a wide cross-section of Americans. The new president wore white tie, while his wife wore a shimmering gown made by designer Jason Wu.

"How good looking is my wife?" President Obama asked the crowd.

Official balls are planned by the President's Inaugural Committee. The balls have themes such as the Home State ball which represents Illinois and Hawaii - two states where the president lived for some time.

But President Obama said the Neighborhood Ball, in particular, captured the spirit of his campaign.

"Remember what we said during this campaign: 'yes we can, yes we will,' as long as all of us are working together," the president said.

A different subject was raised at the Commander-in-Chief's Ball which honors the country's military - now involved in two wars. By way of a video link to Kabul, President Obama thanked some members of the military from Illinois who are serving in Afghanistan.

"You make us proud and we're going to do everything we can to make your work go smoother," President Obama said. "And you need to know that every single American regardless of party, regardless of what their politics are, supports you and will always support you."

Meanwhile, some people who had spent hours in the cold at the presidential inauguration and parade, took refuge in the Hawk and Dove restaurant close to the US capitol building. Kathy Kafayla from California said listening to President Obama's inaugural speech on the Mall was overwhelming.

"He is a man, first of all, who is intelligent, who speaks to many people across all races, across all economic backgrounds, who looks like me," she noted.

Candace Elliot is a teacher in Washington. She wore a shirt with Mr. Obama's campaign phrase, "Yes, we can."

"I think it summarizes his call to action, "Yes, we can" - that we can be the change that is necessary in these times," she said.

And this was the message that resonated with these supporters and many other Americans on this historic day.