WASHINGTON, Jan. 19 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama joined local residents of Washington D.C. in observing the National Day of Service, which fell on Saturday.
On the cusp of his second inauguration and a national holiday to honor civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., President Obama, joined by First Lady Michelle Obama, went to the Burrville Elementary School in northeastern Washington, where about 500 volunteers gathered to complete a school makeover, according to the White House.
TV pictures showed both Obama and Michelle painting a book case together with other volunteers at the school.
While addressing the volunteers at the school, Obama stressed the importance of giving back and called on Americans to volunteer and serve others.
Vice President Joe Biden and his family also went to the D.C. Armory to help pack 100,000 care kits filled with necessities for deployed U.S. service members, wounded soldiers, veterans and first responders.
Elsewhere in the U.S. national capital, local residents and tourists were active in taking part in community service projects organized by various groups. A Service Summit, which took place at the National Mall inside a huge tent pitched near the Washington Monument, was kicked off by celebrities including former first daughter Chelsea Clinton and actress Eva Longoria.
Shanell Smaw, a tourist from Raleigh, North Carolina, said she arrived in Washington earlier in the morning to participate in the inauguration events.
"Today we are going to try to find some voluntary activity, and then we will be at the inauguration on Monday," said Smaw, who emphasized "I'm very excited."
Smaw had many choices at the Service Summit, as dozens of organizations are signing up volunteers on the scene, and the Red Cross was even giving cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) lessons to newly-signed-on volunteers at its booth.
As the National Day of Service was observed nationwide, Obama's inauguration festivities were also unfolding late on Saturday. According to a schedule, First Lady Michelle Obama and Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden were to attend a concert in honor of family members of U.S. service men and women.
Obama will take the oath of office at a private swearing-in ceremony at the White House at Sunday noon after participating in a wreath laying ceremony at the Arlington National Cemetery together with Biden earlier in the day.
Obama will be officially sworn in as the 57th president of the United States at a ceremony organized before the Capitol Hill on Monday, which coincides with the Martin Luther King Day, before delivering his inaugural address.
The inauguration activities will conclude with a parade Monday and two inaugural balls in the evening. It is estimated that less than half of the 1.8 million people who attended Obama's first inauguration four years ago would attend this time.