11 years ago Monday — the inauguration of Barack Obama

Caption
Rev.Joseph Lowery delivers Inauguration Benediction for President Barack Obama's first term.

Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th president of the United States on this date 11 years ago.

After defeating Arizona Sen. John McCain in the popular election on Nov. 4, 2008, the Democrat from Illinois resigned as a U.S. senator and became the first African American to hold the office of president.

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It was Jan. 20, 2009 — the day that Obama also became the nation's first president born after 1960.

The inauguration set an attendance record for Washington, with an estimated crowd of 1.8 million.

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Unlike past inaugurations, the entire length of the National Mall was opened to the public for the swearing-in ceremony, which was also witnessed largely around the world on the internet.

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Some of the highlights that day included the invocation by evangelical pastor Rick Warren and a soulful rendition of “My Country, ’Tis of Thee” sung by Aretha Franklin.

Singer Aretha Franklin performs during the inauguration ceremony for President Barack Obama at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 20, 2009.
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Singer Aretha Franklin performs during the inauguration ceremony for President Barack Obama at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 20, 2009.

Credit: Dennis Brack

Credit: Dennis Brack

The Rev. Joseph Lowery, a towering figure in the U.S. Civil Rights movement, delivered the benediction, praying “as we leave this mountaintop, help us to hold on to the spirit of fellowship and the oneness of our family.”

The Rev. Joseph E. Lowery gives the benediction at the end of the swearing-in ceremony at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 20, 2009.
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The Rev. Joseph E. Lowery gives the benediction at the end of the swearing-in ceremony at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 20, 2009.

Credit: RICK MCKAY

Credit: RICK MCKAY

Everything seemed perfect up until the time for the swearing-in.

That’s when Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts misspoke as he administered the presidential oath of office.

Repeating after Roberts, Obama was supposed to say, “I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of president of the United States.” But Roberts misplaced one word, saying: “I will execute the office of president of the United States faithfully.”

President Barack Obama rests his hand on President Lincoln's Inaugural Bible as  his wife Michelle Obama holds it as he takes the oath of office at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 20, 2009.
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President Barack Obama rests his hand on President Lincoln's Inaugural Bible as his wife Michelle Obama holds it as he takes the oath of office at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 20, 2009.

Credit: Elise Amendola

Credit: Elise Amendola

To quiet any conspiracy theories, a repeat swearing-in ceremony was held the next day at the White House.

In his inaugural address, Obama called for a return to traditional American values, national unity and for ordinary people to get involved in public service.

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“We, the people, still believe that our obligations as Americans are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity,” he said, tasking a new generation to “carry the torch of our forebears.”

The National Mall was filled during Barack Obama’s  inauguration in 2009.
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The National Mall was filled during Barack Obama’s  inauguration in 2009.

Credit: Win McNamee

Credit: Win McNamee

“What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility — a recognition on the part of every American that we have duties to ourselves, our nation and the world; duties that we do not grudgingly accept, but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character than giving our all to a difficult task.”

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Obama campaigned on the idea of “Change We Can Believe In,” and the incoming president faced a litany of challenges, including the Great Recession, in which the U.S. real estate market collapsed. The U.S. was also embroiled in simultaneous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, coupled with the ongoing threat of terrorism.

Former President George W. Bush, right, hugs President Barack Obama after Obama was sworn in.
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Former President George W. Bush, right, hugs President Barack Obama after Obama was sworn in.

Credit: Ron Edmonds

Credit: Ron Edmonds

One of his first actions as president was an executive order directing the U.S. military to begin withdrawing troops from Iraq.

Obama is largely credited with preventing the Great Recession from turning into a full-fledged economic depression.

Less than two months into his presidency, Obama signed a $787 billion economic stimulus package, introduced legislation to reform the nation’s financial institutions and intervened to help save the bankrupt automotive industry.

President Barack Obama walks down Pennsylvania Avenue with his wife Michelle Obama on their way to the White House in Washington on Jan. 20, 2009.
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President Barack Obama walks down Pennsylvania Avenue with his wife Michelle Obama on their way to the White House in Washington on Jan. 20, 2009.

Credit: Alex Brandon

Credit: Alex Brandon

His signature achievement, however, was the Affordable Care Act, which gave millions of uninsured Americans more access to health care. Challenged by Republicans, the law was later upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Obama also ordered the 2011 U.S. Navy SEAL raid in Pakistan that killed Osama bin Laden, the mastermind behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks on America.

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Nine months after his inauguration, Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize.

During his first two years as president, Obama appointed two women to serve on the Supreme Court: Sonia Sotomayor, who replaced retiring Associate Justice David Souter; and Elena Kagan, who replaced retiring Associate Justice John Paul Stevens.

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Barack Obama was born Aug. 4, 1961, in Honolulu.

He spent two years at Occidental College in Los Angeles before he transferred to Columbia University, where he studied political science and international relations and graduated in 1983.

He next spent two years working in New York City before choosing to become a community organizer in Chicago.

In 1988, he went to Harvard Law School, where he became the first African American president of the Harvard Law Review.

President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle dance during the Western Inaugural Ball at the Washington Convention Center on Jan. 20, 2009.
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President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle dance during the Western Inaugural Ball at the Washington Convention Center on Jan. 20, 2009.

Credit: CHIP SOMEDEVILLA

Credit: CHIP SOMEDEVILLA

In 1992, he married Michelle Robinson.

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The former first couple have two daughters, Malia Ann, who was born in 1998, and Natasha, also known as Sasha, who was born in 2001.

U.S. President-elect Barack Obama, left, arrives to take the oath of office with his wife Michelle, and daughters Malia, and Sasha, right, on Jan. 20, 2009.
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U.S. President-elect Barack Obama, left, arrives to take the oath of office with his wife Michelle, and daughters Malia, and Sasha, right, on Jan. 20, 2009.

Credit: CHUCK KENNEDY

Credit: CHUCK KENNEDY

Obama was elected to the Illinois Senate in 1996 and again in 1998.

He resigned from his state Senate seat in November 2004 following his election to the U.S. Senate.

On Feb. 10, 2007, Obama announced his candidacy for president of the United States.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

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