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Obama Appeals For Americans To Get Involved On Day Of Service

President elect Barack Obama pauses while painting during a renovation project at Sasha Bruce Youthwork, a shelter for homeless or runaway teens, in Washington , Monday, Jan. 19, 2009. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
President elect Barack Obama pauses while painting during a renovation project at Sasha Bruce Youthwork, a shelter for homeless or runaway teens, in Washington , Monday, Jan. 19, 2009. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

President-elect Barack Obama is continuing his appeal for Americans to get involved in public service projects, telling a community service group that government "can't do it alone."

Obama was accompanied by his wife, Michelle, during the appearance Monday at a high school in the nation's capital.

He said Americans can't simply wait for "somebody else" to clean up a vacant lot or tutor a child — because it would "never get done." Instead, he says, everyone has to take responsibility.

At the same time, Obama promised to "make government work" — and to see to it that people are able to stay in their homes, make a living wage, and get health care.

Later he visited Sasha Bruce House, a shelter for homeless teens in the District of Columbia, chatting with volunteers who were helping to repaint rooms and then pitching in himself.

"We can't allow any idle hands. Everybody's got to be involved," Obama said. "I think the American people are ready to do that."

Obama appealed to the nation he will soon lead to honor the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. through service to others. "It's not a day just to pause and reflect — it's a day to act," Obama said on King's national holiday. "I ask the American people to turn today's efforts into an ongoing commitment to enriching the lives of others in their communities, their cities, and their country."

Ever-growing crowds thronged to the capital city on the eve of Obama's elevation to the presidency. "Tomorrow, we will come together as one people on the same Mall where Dr. King's dream echoes still," Obama said.

A day away from becoming the nation's 44th president, Obama visited 14 injured vets from Iraq and Afghanistan at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

This program aired on January 19, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.

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