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Hundreds Of Thousands Gather For Inauguration Ceremony

WASHINGTON (January 21, 2013)--The crowds weren’t as big as the ones that gathered four years ago for President Barack Obama's first inauguration, but at least one public viewing area on the National Mall was full, two hours before the swearing-in Monday.

Security was tight across Washington, with several streets near the White House and Capitol Hill closed off.

Humvees and city buses were being used to block intersections.

Volunteers fanned out near the Mall to help direct crowds.

Lawmakers and other officials slowly trickled onto the platform on the West Front of the Capitol where Obama will be sworn in.

Former Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle and former GOP House Speaker Newt Gingrich sat next to each other as they awaited the festivities.

Organizers were expecting 700,000 people to attend the day’s events, which would make it the largest second-term inaugural in history.

High temperatures are expected to be in the lower 40s during the day, with a slight chance of rain and snow showers in the afternoon and flurries later.

Vicki Lyons of Colorado, who described herself as being mostly Republican, says being in Washington for the inauguration is "like standing in the middle of history."

Although she didn't vote for Mr. Obama, Lyons said, "No matter who the president is, everybody needs to do this at least once."

A North Carolina woman took her young daughter to the inauguration, just as she did four years ago.

Kenya Strong said she wants daughter Ty to know that "her potential is endless."

Her daughter, who is 15, says she learned in 2009 that she'd meet all types of people, not just African-Americans like herself.

David Richardson of Atlanta and his two young children were in the early crowds heading to the National Mall before sunrise.

He said they "wanted to see history" and he also wanted the children to see that "anything is possible through hard work."

Wendy Davis, also from Georgia, was one of the thousands who packed Metro trains before sunrise.

She came four years ago, but was among the many ticketholders who couldn't get in because of the massive crowds and she was determined to make sure that didn't happen this time.

The president started his day Monday listening to a church pastor urging him to use his power to benefit others, and the nation.

It was part of the sermon at St. John's Episcopal Church near the White House, where Mr. Obama and his family attended services this morning. Vice President Joe Biden and his family also attended.

Inside, R&B singer Ledisi, a favorite of Mrs. Obama's, sang a solo titled "I Feel Like Goin' On."

The sermon was delivered by Pastor Andy Stanley of North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, Ga., who asked what one does when they realize they're the most powerful person in that room.

"You leverage that power for the benefit of other people in the room,” he said.

To the president, he said, "Mr. President, you have an awfully big room. It's as big as our nation."

Mr. Obama left to cheers from a waiting crowd, then headed back to the White House as time neared to take the oath of office for his second term.


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