The theme for Inauguration Day on Monday was "Faith in America's Future," and President Barack Obama's second inaugural address clearly expressed that sentiment.

The United States has been living under the cloud of war, terror, economic woes and natural disasters for more than a decade.

All of those problems remain to some degree, and there are other significant challenges facing the nation.

Yet with the Iraq War over, the war in Afghanistan winding down, Osama bin Laden dead and the economy gradually improving, there is a growing sense that the country is heading in the right direction.

On Monday, President Obama articulated that sense of hope and optimism in a speech that delivered high ideals and articulated numerous areas of needed policy action.

The president invoked the spirit of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution in calling for "We the people" to work together to meet the challenges and make this a better country.

"Now, more than ever," President Obama proclaimed, "we must do these things together, as one nation, and one people."

He is absolutely right, and it is incumbent on all of us to respond to that call.

Just as we need to respond to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's similar entreaties, in his recent State of the State address, to work together to solve Connecticut's economic, budget deficit and gun violence problems.

Just as the people of Newtown have drawn together, in the face of the tragic shooting deaths at Sandy Hook Elementary School, to lift each other up and walk together into the future.

The president specified an ambitious litany of goals: the end of the war in Afghanistan, an improved economy, a rising middle class, technological advances, tax reform, debt reduction, education reform, implementation of health care initiatives, preservation of the safety net, an effective response to climate change, immigration reform, a reduction in gun violence.

And on an Inauguration Day that fell on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Obama paid tribute to the great, slain civil rights leader and vowed to continue the fight for equality for all Americans, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity or sexual preference.

It is clear President Obama fully recognizes the broad spectrum of challenges -- and opportunities -- facing this country, and we can count on him to spell out more detailed policy proposals for many of these in his upcoming State of the Union address.

The president had several historic successes in his first term, including passage of the Affordable Care Act, saving the auto industry, helping prevent another Depression and bringing the troops home from Iraq. But he knows there is so much more to do.

And it is clear the president fully understands, after a first term marked to a large degree by crippling partisan gridlock in Congress, the only way to solve these great problems is to involve and inspire the full citizenry of the United States.

"With common effort and common purpose, with passion and dedication," President Obama urged in his inaugural address, "let us answer the call of history, and carry into an uncertain future that precious light of freedom."

We echo that call and strongly encourage our friends and neighbors to take a more active role in the process of making America an even greater country.