President-elect Barack Obama’s inauguration ceremony on Jan. 20 promises to be one of the largest in our nation’s history.
President Lyndon Johnson’s ceremony holds the current record for attendees, which totaled 1.2 million people in 1965. City officials estimate that figure will be topped by the crowds for Obama’s inauguration. They predict at least 2 million people will come out to witness the event and possibly as many as 4 million.
For many reasons, this will truly be an historic day for our nation. For the first time ever the entire National Mall will be open to the public to view the event. To accommodate all who wish to attend, the D.C. government is planning to set up jumbo-tron televisions and loudspeakers so everyone will have a good view of the event and be part of the live action. The event is set to start at 11:30 a.m. but given the crowds and transportation difficulties, people are advised to arrive much earlier.
A second event on Inauguration Day open to the public is the Inaugural Parade. It is set to commence following the aforementioned swearing-in ceremony. You don’t need a ticket to watch the parade although, as with accessing the Mall, it is advised that you plan to be at the location many hours in advance. The parade route, traveling from the Capitol down Pennsylvania Ave to the White House, will be secured prior to the event and all those in attendance will be screened by security. For more information on the route and security info, you can visit www.pic2009.org.
For those planning to attend these festivities, you should be aware that City officials have closed the Roosevelt, Memorial and 14th St. Bridges on Inauguration Day to all traffic except for buses and authorized vehicles. If you live within two miles of the Capitol it is recommended to walk to the events. Outside of two miles, Metro is the recommended mode of transportation. Metro opens at 4 a.m. Inauguration Day and will close at 2 a.m. It should also be noted that camping on the Mall is not allowed and cell phone reception is expected to be disrupted on Inauguration Day given the crowds. Those planning to attend should be sure to check the weather and dress appropriately. Past inaugurations have taken place on some of the coldest days of the year.
As you can see, logistics for those planning to attend the Inaugural are daunting. For updated information on the Inaugural ceremonies, please feel free to visit my website at www.moran.house.gov where I will be posting new info as it becomes public.