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Americans should prep for challenges, says President

Zackery Caldwell had one answer when asked how he felt about Barack Obama being sworn in as President of the United States on Monday:

“Happy,” said Caldwell, a third grader at Greenville Elementary School.

Third and fourth graders packed the school’s gymnasium and library in order to view the historic occasion. President Obama is the 44th President and first such African-American.

“It’s a fun day,” said fellow third grader Adria Hill. “I’m just glad he’s going in. He’s the only black president we’ve had and I think he’s going to do everything right.”

“I think it’s great that we get to celebrate a day where the President comes into the White House,” added third grader Laun Pryor.

Third grade student Regan Smith said he hopes President Obama concentrates on repairing the nation’s economy first.

“Last year we were supposed to go to England during the summer, but we didn’t have the money,” he said. “I hope he fixes everything so we’ll be able to go next year.”

After taking the Oath of Office, President Obama addressed the crowd for approximately 18 minutes. He called on Americans to be prepared to make sacrifices and be willing to accept the challenges the country faces for the next four years.

“Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many,” said President Obama. “They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America – they will be met…For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act – not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology’s wonders to raise health care’s quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age.”

Schools, businesses and city and county government paused to watch President Obama’s inauguration. CorStone President Sam Roberts announced a closure of CorStone’s offices and production facility in Greenville.

“Share the experience of this historic occasion with your friends and family,” wrote Roberts to employees.

Gov. Bob Riley wished the new President well in a released statement.

“Today marks an historic moment for our country. The peaceful transition of the most powerful office on Earth is truly exceptional, and something that all of us, regardless of political party, can celebrate as Americans,” said Gov. Riley. “I congratulate President Obama on his historic election… I also want to congratulate President Bush on eight years of faithful service, and thank him for keeping America safe amid some of the most turbulent times this nation has ever known.”