(CNSNews.com) - Even if you can't make it to the second inauguration of President Barack Obama, you can roll up your sleeves and perform community service, as the Obama and Biden families are telling Americans to do.
The "first" and "second" families are calling on Americans to join them in a "National Day of Service" on the Saturday before the public swearing-in ceremony.
“Service is more than a one-off event, it’s a lifelong commitment,” President Barack Obama, a one-time community organizer, said in Friday's call to action. “The strength of America depends on the strength of our people. That’s why I’m calling on all Americans to take part in the National Day of Service. We all can give back to our communities on January 19 and throughout the coming year.”
Vice President Joe Biden called Jan. 19 "an opportunity for all Americans, no matter where they are, to be a part of the Inauguration." Biden says everyone can serve their community, including his own family, which is among those "rolling up our sleeves and recommitting ourselves to service.”
In addition to celebrating the inauguration, the day of service is intended to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., whose birthday -- Jan. 15 -- is now a federal holiday, observed this year on Jan. 21, when the public inaugural celebrations take place. (Obama will be privately sworn-in on Sunday, Jan. 20, as the Constitution requires.)
The Obamas regularly perform community service in honor of Dr. King, volunteering to clean up a D.C. elementary school in January 2012.
This year, the Presidential Inauguration Committee is asking Americans to sign up for a service project that falls into one of seven "themes," including Community Resilience, Economic Development, Education, Environment, Faith, Health, and Veterans and Military Families.
But first, you have to submit your email address and zip code, which is handy information to have come Democratic fund-raising time. ("Pledge to get involved today and you'll receive more information about service events happening across the country," the National Service website says.)
To engage all Americans "in the hard work of shaping our future," the Obamas and the Bidens are asking Americans to do three things:
(1) LEARN about how to join or host a local service event. (This is where you leave your email address and zip code on the National Service website.)
(2) SERVE: Sign up to serve on January 19, 2013, to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a man who dedicated his life to service.
(3) PLEDGE to serve in the community regularly in the future.
Four years ago, President Obama declared Jan. 20 -- Inauguration Day 2009 -- as a "National Day of Renewal and Reconciliation." In one of his first acts as president, he called upon all Americans "to serve one another and the common purpose of remaking this Nation for our new century."
In June 2009, Obama announced a project called United We Serve, urging all Americans "to help lay a new foundation for growth in this country by engaging in sustained, meaningful community service."
And starting in September 2009 and each year thereafter, Obama has issued proclamations encouraging Americans to honor those killed in the 9-11 attacks by participating in community service projects on Sept. 11, which Congress designated as "Patriot Day."