If the crowd at Inauguration 2013 meets the expectation of 500,000 to 700,000 people, it will be the largest ever at a second public inaugural. Here's how some of those who came see the moment.
Jose Luis Magana/AP
Americans flocked to the National Mall on a blue-sky, chilly-but-not-freezing Monday morning, the air electric with anticipation as President Obama prepared for a second public swearing-in and inaugural speech.
The crowds won’t come close to the crush of humanity that packed the Mall four years ago – 1.8 million people, by various estimations. Any president’s second inauguration, by definition, can’t match the first – even for the first African-American president, whose historic election in 2008 was celebrated the world over.
In fact, Mr. Obama began his second term on Sunday, with a small swearing-in ceremony at the White House. By tradition, when the constitutionally mandated Inauguration Day, Jan. 20, falls on a Sunday, the big show takes place the next day: another oath-taking at the West front of the Capitol, the inaugural speech, the parade down Pennsylvania Avenue, the balls.
But don’t sell the 57th Inauguration short. If the crowd meets the expectation of 500,000 to 700,000 people, it will be the largest ever at a second public inaugural, and the fourth largest at any inauguration, behind Obama’s first, President Lyndon Johnson’s in 1965 (1.2 million), and President Bill Clinton’s in 1993 (800,000).
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