Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

Obama's inauguration: Crowds brave chill to witness history in the making

Bundled people pack the National Mall for the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Shaine Martin of New Orleans, La., is photographed as she waits on National Mall for the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Bxoning promoter Don King holds up his flags before the inauguration ceremony at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Jeff Christensen)
Das Stoked of Providence, R. I., waves a flag with the image of President-elect Barack Obama on the National Mall looking towards the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
President Bush, right, walks out with President-elect Barack Obama, left, on the North Portico of the White House before sharing the Presidential limousine enroute to Capitol Hill for the inauguration of the President-elect in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009.(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., right, arrives at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009, for the swearing-in of President-elect Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
Shareef Harrison, 9, left, and Cheryl Odom, right, show off their decorated flags during an inauguration ceremony at the Harlem Armory Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009 in New York prior to the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Actors Samuel L. Jackson, right, and Dustin Hoffman greet each other as they arrive for the inauguration ceremonyat the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Jeff Christensen)
This undated image provided by UKFineArts Tuesday Jan. 20 2009, shows a micro sculpture by Willard Wigan showing U.S, President elect Barrack Obama and his family in the eye of a needle. Barack Obama will be inaugurated as the 44th U.S. president in Washington on Tuesday. (AP Photo/ UKFineArts,HO) ** NO SALES EDITORIAL USE ONLY **
U.S. Sen John McCain, R-Ariz., finds his seat as he arrives for the inauguration ceremony at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Retired Gen. Colin Powell, left, and Elie Wiesel stand on the inaugural stage ahead of the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States of America on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009, in Washington. (AP Photo/Win McNamee, Pool)
Jay-Z and Beyonce try to find their seats as they arrive for the inauguration ceremony at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Shareef Harrison, 9, left, and Cheryl Odom, right, show off their decorated flags during an inauguration ceremony at the Harlem Armory Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009 in New York. Thousands are gathering to celebrate the inauguration of U.S. President-elect Barack Obama. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
President Bush, right, walks out with President-elect Barack Obama, left, on the North Portico of the White House before sharing the Presidential limousine enroute to Capitol Hill for the inauguration of the President-elect in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Shaine Martin of New Orleans, La., cheers as she waits on National Mall for the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., left, and Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., arrive at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009, for the swearing-in of President-elect Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
President Bush, right, walks out with President-elect Barack Obama, left, on the North Portico of the White House before sharing the Presidential limousine en route to Capitol Hill for inauguration in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009.(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, left, and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger arrive at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009, for the swearing-in of President-elect Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
Oprah Winfrey, center, is joined by companion Steadman Graham, left, as she arrives for the inauguration of Barack Obama and Joe Biden at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and his wife Anna find their seats as they arrive for the inauguration ceremony at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., arrives for the inauguration ceremony at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Bundled people pack the National Mall in Washington for the Inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Jacob Washington, 8, of Hopkinsville, Ken., sleeps at his parents feet as they wait on the National Mall for the Inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Bundled people pack the National Mall for the Inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Sen. Roland Burris, D-Ill., gives thumbs-up as he arrives the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009, for the swearing-in of President-elect Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
The U.S. Capitol in Washington is seen lit up early Tuesday morning, Jan. 20, 2009, before the swearing-in ceremony of President-elect Barack Obama. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
Shareef Harrison, 9, left, shows off his decorated flag as Cheryl Odom, right, watches during an inauguration ceremony at the Harlem Armory Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009 in New York. Thousands are gathering to celebrate the inauguration of U.S. President-elect Barack Obama. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
President-elect Barack Obama and Michelle Obama are welcomed by Rev. Luis Leon as the arrive for church service at St. John's Episcopal Church across from the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
President-elect Barack Obama and Michelle Obama leave the Blair House before going to a church service at St. John's Episcopal Church across from the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
Orquenitta Donely of Chicago, Ill., right, and Eve Julien of New York City, left, wait pushed up against a gate at a security check point to enter and attend the the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. They said they had both been there since 2:00 a.m. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
People wear Obama paraphernalia as they wait in New York's Pennsylvania Station to board an Amtrak train to Washington, D.C., to attend the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama, Tuesday morning, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
A woman wears Obama paraphernali in New York's Pennsylvania Station as she waits to board an Amtrak train to Washington, D.C., to attend the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama, Tuesday morning Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Dawn Appleby, left, from London, England, and her brother Daniel Appleby, from New York, read newspapers in New York's Pennsylvania Station as they wait to board an Amtrak train to Washington, D.C., to attend the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama, Tuesday morning Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
The sun rises on the U.S. Capitol and the already crowded National Mall on Inauguration Day as people continue to gather in anticipation of the swearing-in of President-elect Barack Obama on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009 in Washington.
Matryoshkas, traditional Russian nesting dolls made of wood, depicting U.S. President-elect Barack Obama, at left, and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, second from right, and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, right, are seen in Moscow, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. Barack Obama strides to the pinnacle of American power Tuesday, taking the oath as the 44th U.S. president and shattering racial barriers as the first black leader of a country gripped by profound economic troubles and at war in two distant lands. (AP Photo/Misha Japaridze)
A child with Obama's name painted on her face seen at a mock inauguration party, held in Kisumu, Kenya, Tuesday Jan. 20, 2009 to celebrate the inauguration of American President elect Barack Obama in Washington DC.The election of a black American president stands as a powerful symbol of unity on this continent, where many countries are still riven between competing ethnic groups and the older generations still remember the injustices of colonialism.(AP Photo/Riccardo Gangale)
A street vendor demonstrates a Matryoshka, traditional Russian nesting dolls made of wood, depicting U.S. President-elect Barack Obama, as it is displayed for sale in Moscow, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. Barack Obama strides to the pinnacle of American power Tuesday, taking the oath as the 44th U.S. president and shattering racial barriers as the first black leader of a country gripped by profound economic troubles and at war in two distant lands. (AP Photo/Misha Japaridze)
People wait in line for access to the inaugural parade route prior to the swearing-in of President-elect Barack Obama, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009, in Washington. (AP Photo/Rob Carr)
Crowds gather on the National Mall in Washington for the swearing-in ceremony of President-elect Barack Obama on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
More people arrive on the already crowded National Mall on Inauguration Day in anticipation of the swearing-in of President-elect Barack Obama on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009 in Washington. (AP Photo/Kevin Wolf)
Artist Darla Nageswara Rao gives finishing touches to a portrait of U.S. President-elect Barack Obama, made with 33,265 colored stickers in Hyderabad, India, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A)
Bundled people wait before dawn at a security check point to attend the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
U.S. President-elect Barack Obama's sand sculpture made by an Indian artist Sudarshan Pattnaik, is seen at the golden sea beach in Puri, 67 kilometers (41 miles) away from Bhubaneswar, India, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Biswaranjan Rout)
Actor Denzel Washington is among the early arrivals for the inauguration of Barack Obama and Joe Biden at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Crowds gather on the National Mall in Washington for the swearing-in ceremony of President-elect Barack Obama on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
Crowds gather on the National Mall in Washington for the swearing-in ceremony of President-elect Barack Obama on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009.(AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
People wait on the National Mall in Washington early Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009, before the swearing-in ceremony of President-elect Barack Obama. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Crowds gather early on the National Mall by the Washington Monument for the swearing-in ceremony for President-elect Barack Obama in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
Crowds gather early on the National Mall for the swearing-in ceremony for President-elect Barack Obama in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
Stand-ins for President-elect Barack Obama, his wife Michelle Obama and Chief Justice John Roberts rehearse the swearing in ceremony for the inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol, Monday, Jan. 19, 2009 in Washington. Obama will take the oath of office as the 44th President on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., takes a photo from the podium outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Monday, Jan. 19, 2009, a day before the swearing-in ceremony of President-elect Barack Obama. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
Yo-Yo Ma rehearses for the swearing-in ceremony for the inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol, Monday, Jan. 19, 2008 in Washington. President-elect Barack Obama will take the oath of office as the 44th President on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Crowds gather in the National Mall as they wait for the inauguration ceremony at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, early Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Michelle Obama wife of President-elect Barack Obama walks to the stage to be greeted by Vice President-elect Joe Biden's wife Jill, center, and her grandchildren during the "Kids' Inaugural: We Are The Future Concert" in Washington, Monday, Jan. 19, 2009. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Jill Biden, wife of Vice President-elect Joe Biden, left, and her grandchildren greet Michelle Obama, wife of President-elect Barack Obama, during the "Kids' Inaugural: We Are The Future Concert" in Washington, Monday, Jan. 19, 2009. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Inauguration merchandise is shown as campers register at Cherry Hill Park, an RV park and campground in College Park, Md., outside of Washington, Monday, Jan. 19, 2009. A majority of the guests staying at the park are attending Tuesday's inauguration in Washington. (AP Photo/Rob Carr)
A President-elect Barack Obama hand puppet being sold in Washington, Monday, Jan. 19, 2009. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Carol Williams from Brooklyn, N.Y., holds an American flag on the National Mall in Washington Monday, Jan. 19, 2009, in anticipation of the swearing-in of President-elect Barack Obama Tuesday. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Vietnam war veteran Harry Thompson of Fort Worth, Texas, carries a flag with the image of President-elect Barack Obama as he stands in front of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, Monday, Jan. 19, 2009. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Billy Johnson, far left, of Charlotte, N.C., photographs General Mealer, right, with his grandsons Daryll Mealer, 7, second from left, and Jason Mealer, 6, with a cardboard cutout of President-elect Barack Obama on the National Mall in Washington, Monday, Jan. 19, 2009. The Mealers are from Carry, N.C. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Paul Locke of Richmond, Va., sells inauguration buttons with the images of President-elect Barack Obama for five dollars a piece in Washington, Monday, Jan. 19, 2009. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
People cross 17th Street on the National Mal carrying an inaugural shopping bag with the image of President-elect Barack Obama in Washington, Monday, Jan. 19, 2009. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Miley Cyrus and Billy Ray Cyrus perform during "Kids' Inaugural: We Are The Future Concert" in Washington, Monday, Jan. 19, 2009. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
The sun rises on the already crowded National Mall on Inauguration Day as people continue to gather in anticipation of the swearing-in of President-elect Barack Obama on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009 in Washington. (AP Photo/Kevin Wolf)
Barack Hussein Obama
Stephanie Casillas takes a picture of Maya Landry, 3, in a John McCain mask and Alex Vincelette, 3, in an Obama mask while their preschool class visits the Arroyo Vista Park polling place in Moorpark, Calif., Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008. (AP Photo/The Ventura County Star, James Glover II)
President-elect Barack Obama, left, his wife Michelle Obama, right, and two daughters, Malia, and Sasha, center left, wave to the crowd at the election night rally in Chicago, Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
President-elect Barack Obama kisses wife, Michelle, after his acceptance speech at his election night party at Grant Park in Chicago, Tuesday night, Nov. 4, 2008. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., addresses supporters at a rally in Manassas, Va., Monday, Nov. 3, 2008. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
*** CORRECTS NAME OF PHOTOGRAPHER *** University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign students celebrate on the Alma Mater after Obama was announced the president-elect early Wednesday morning, Nov. 5, 2008 in Champaign, Ill. (AP Photo/The Daily Illini - Ramzi Dreessen)
Supporters of President-elect Barack Obama cheer in the streets in downtown Chicago on Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008. (AP Photo/Stacie Freudnberg)
Dennis Caudill, of Crown Point, Indiana, places a sign supporting Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and vice presidential candidate and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin on the mantle at the home of Palin friends Brad and Kristan Cole, Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008, in Wasilla, Alaska. Caudill was part of a group of McCain supporters and friends from across the country gathered to watch election returns in Wasilla. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., right, is joined by Gov. Sarah Palin, R-Alaska, during a rally with supporters on election night in Phoenix, Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
Joan Crecca kisses a life size cutout of presidential candidate John McCain at the Republican election party in Bellevue, Wash on Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008. Crecca's husband Joe was a POW in Viet Nam at the same time as McCain. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)
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It may be -6C, but not even the decidedly chilly Washington weather could stop crowds of people forming this morning in anticipation of Barack Obama's inauguration.

As early as 4am - some eight hours before the swearing in of the new president - people were lining up at the city's underground stations, waiting for trains to take them closer to the action.

Estimates of the total crowd expected range from 1 million upwards, with the attendance likely to top the previous record for an inauguration.

In a first for a swearing in ceremony, the entire National Mall - the park leading up to the Lincoln Memorial - has been opened to the public.

And from the early hours, the park begin to fill with expectant Obama supporters.

The sheer number of people have put pressure on the city's infrastructure.

Out-of-towners and Washington residents alike overwhelmed the transport and filled city streets. Tens of thousands of people turning Washington's orderly grid of streets into a festive party scene throughout the morning.

Obama activist Akin Salawu, 34, of Brooklyn, New York, was one of the early arrivals.

The community organiser and web producer said: "This is the culmination of two years of work.

"We got on board when Obama was the little engine who could. He's like a child you've held onto. Now he's going out into the world."

Streets around the Capitol building quickly filled in the early hours, with security checkpoints inundated with people.

Warming tents and other facilities on the Mall were late opening because of traffic problems, while crowds delayed staffers from reaching them.

Meanwhile, ticket holders approaching the inaugural site on Capitol Hill were themselves delayed by security checks.

Connie Grant, of Birmingham, Alabama, said she got up at 3.30am after coming to Washington with a group.

Three hours later she was still waiting for police to clear the way into the Mall.

Despite the delays, people queuing up to attend remained good natured.

Ms Grant said: "I sacrificed and came here. To me, this is very historic. I just wanted to be here."

Christian Alderson, of Berryville, Virginia, said he was in Memphis, Tennessee when Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated.

The 73-year-old said: "That day was sorrowful. This is a dream come true for me."

Police in the city have projected inaugural crowds between one million and two million.

The previous record for an inauguration was for Lyndon B Johnson in 1965. Around 1.2 million people turned up to see Johnson sworn in as president.

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