Jan 19, 2013 / 10:22 am
Promoting community service, President Barack Obama helped spruce up a local elementary school Saturday as three days of inaugural celebrations kicked off in Washington.
The president, along with first lady Michelle Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha, joined hundreds of volunteers at Burrville Elementary, one of many projects taking place across the country marking the National Day of Service. Standing in a hallway, he pulled on a pair of rubber gloves, picked up a paint brush and helped stain a bookshelf.
Obama added the day of service projects to the inaugural schedule in 2009 and hopes it will become a tradition for future presidents.
Earlier Saturday, Vice-President Joe Biden, his wife, Jill, and other members of his family spent the morning filling care packages for U.S. troops overseas, veterans and first responders.
"We've had too much of the coarsening of our culture," Biden said. "We've got to get back to reaching out to people."
The White House sees the call to service as a way for Americans across the country to honour the memory of Martin Luther King Jr. The day Obama publicly takes the oath of office marks King's birthday, and 2013 is the 50th anniversary of the civil rights leader's March on Washington.
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