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Americans roll up sleeves in day of service before inauguration

Published on Jan 20, 2013 6:05 AM
 U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama paint shelves at Burrville Elementary School as they participate in a day of service, hoping to encourage Americans to follow suit with volunteering projects nationwide in Washington Jan. 19, 2013. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - From sprucing up hiking trails to painting schools, Americans across the country, including President Barack Obama and his family, took part in a national day of service on Saturday to help kick off presidential inauguration ceremonies.

The day honours the slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., who famously said, "Life's most persistent and urgent question is: 'What are you doing for others?'"

Mr Obama will be publicly sworn in for a second term on Monday, which is also a national holiday honouring King.

Before his first inauguration in 2009, Mr Obama urged Americans to spend part of Jan 19 helping others by volunteering.

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