RALEIGH — Mike Easley was sworn in as North Carolina's new governor Saturday in an hour-long ceremony on the steps of the Archives Building in downtown Raleigh.
Easley, Council of State Take Oaths of OfficeWith his wife, Mary, and their son, Michael, at his side, Easley, 50, took the oath of office just before 11:30 a.m. North Carolina Chief Justice I. Beverly Lake Jr. administered the oath.
The new governor then called on North Carolinians to look at the state's prosperity, unite and do more.
"We ask every student to learn more and every teacher to teach more," he said. "But we also ask every parent to love more, every family to care more and every community to lead more."
Easley praised the generation of longtime state leaders who are leaving office, citing the accomplishments of outgoing Gov. Jim Hunt, Commissioner of Agriculture Jim Graham, former Chief Justice Henry Frye and retired State Treasurer Harlan Boyles.
Members of the Council of State were also sworn into office. Among them, the state's first woman to serve as lieutenant governor, Beverly Perdue.
In addition to swinging sounds from North Carolina Central University's Jazz Band and a young people's chorus, Saturday morning's ceremony featured a special state toast by native son Andy Griffith.
"Here's to the land of the longleaf pine," Griffith said. "The summer land where the sun doth shine, where the weak grow strong and the strong grow great."
Chilly spectators gathered downtown to watch the ceremony. Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) was in the crowd.
"I think Gov. Easley has focused on exactly the right things," he said. "He cares deeply about our public school system and doing everything in our power to improve our public schools."
Hertford County Sheriff Wardie Vincent came to Raleigh to see the inauguration.
"We look forward to a strong law enforcement community in the state of North Carolina," Vincent said.
Many citizens took in the ceremony, as well as the festivities that followed at downtown museums. Raleigh resident Miranda Yalcin is hopeful about the Easley administration.
"I think the future looks great," she said. "North Carolina is doing wonderfully, and it keeps growing." Parade, Festivities Entertain CrowdEasley and other state officials made their way to a reviewing stand to watch the inaugural parade roll through downtown Raleigh.
Entertainers and marching bands from across the state performed for the crowd. Thousands lined the streets to see the parade.
Musicians treated the crowd to music at Bicentennial Plaza. Inside the Museum of History, people learned about governors of the past and their families. Down the block at the Museum of Natural Sciences, exhibits taught visitors about the state's natural wonders.
The inaugural festivities ended Saturday evening with the traditional open house at the Executive Mansion. Hundreds of people lined up to greet the Easleys.
The Council of State joined Easley in welcoming an endless line of well-wishers into the mansion. From staff and wire reports