Did estimates of up to 5 million people scare you from coming out to see the Obama Inauguration?
Well how about 2-3 million? Does that number sound more appealing to you?
Inauguration officials are now revising earlier estimates of Inaugural attendees by half. According to the Washington Post, “turnout could easily reach 2 million, officials said, far outstripping the 400,000 who attended the 2005 inauguration of President Bush.”
It doesn’t surprise me that only 400,000 people came out to see Bush swearing in again. I wonder how many of them were protesters.
The WP article notes that 5 million people may come into the DC Metro area, but it seems unlikely that the entire 5 million will actually make it to The Mall and parade route. So does that mean that a fallback plan of watching the festivities at a local pub may not be smart? Trying to fight through the other 2 million that came into town but didn’t want to go the extra mile to be there in person may make leaving my house a nightmare no matter what I do.
I also wonder if this story will entice even more people to try and see the events in-person. Next thing you know we really do have 5 million people in DC because they thought, “5 million people? No way! But 2 million people… maybe I will try and make it in…”
Now for some more Inaugural news.
Obama’s playing the part of Lincoln very well
So the Obama’s got the Lincoln train ride thing down. He’s also kicking off Inaugurapalooza with a concert at the Lincoln memorial. And of course we all know Obama’s from the “land of Lincoln.”
He wants to make sure we get the whole Lincoln metaphor down with his decision to use the Lincoln bible to take his Inaugural oath. The bible hasn’t been used in over 150 yearsm since- you guessed it- Abe Lincoln used it. With the announcement the Lincoln bible came out for a little photo op and CBS has some video of it on display.
More Inaugural Weekend Details
It looks like the Inaugural committee has released some more details on the events that weekend, here’s the latest details from the Presidential Inaugural Committee:
Sunday, January 18th
No new details on the welcome event on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial except that it will be in the afternoon
Monday, January 19th – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
The President-elect, Vice President-elect, and their families are going to honor Dr. King through various community service activities. The earlier reported youth concert at the Verizon Center will be held that evening.
Tuesday, January 20th – Inauguration Day
The festivities will start at 10 A.M. but officials say that if you have tickets that you should try and get into the areas around 9. Remember that there’s no overnight camping on The Mall and that you can’t stake a parade spot til 7 AM.
Musical groups to perform include The United States Marine Band, Aretha Franklin, The United States Navy Band “Sea Chanters”, The San Francisco Boys Chorus, and The San Francisco Girls Chorus. John Williams will conduct an ensemble including Itzhak Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma, Gabriela Montero, and Anthony McGill.
Here’s a the current rundown of the ceremony:
- Call to Order and Welcoming Remarks: Senator Dianne Feinstein
- Invocation: Dr. Rick Warren
- Musical Selection: Aretha Franklin
- Vice President-elect Joseph R. Biden, Jr. will be sworn into office by Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, the Honorable John Paul Stevens
- Musical Selection: John Williams, composer/arranger with Itzhak Perlman, (violin), Yo-Yo Ma (cello), Gabriela Montero (piano) and Anthony McGill (clarinet)
- President-elect Barack H. Obama will take the Oath of Office, using President Lincoln’s Inaugural Bible, administered by the Chief Justice of the United States, the Honorable John G. Roberts, Jr.
- Inaugural Address
- Poem: Elizabeth Alexander
- Benediction: The Reverend Dr. Joseph E. Lowery
- The National Anthem: The United States Navy Band “Sea Chanters”
President Obama will escort President Bush to a departure ceremony then attend a luncheon in the Capitol’s Statuary Hall.
The Inaugural Parade will march down Pennsylvania Avenue from the Capitol to the White House. Here’s a preliminary list of parade participants that have been invited.
Wednesday, January 21st
No new news on the prayer service that will take place that day.
How cushy is an Honorary Co-Chair role?
The committee has also announced their Honorary Co-Chairs which include former President Carter, Clinton, and Bush (the first one.) Mayor Adrian Fenty and Colin Powell are also on the list. While I don’t know what exactly an Honorary Co-Chair does at the Inauguration- I bet he/she will have really good seats.
Talking about seats I was showing a friend around DC last night and we visited the White House where we saw the VIP Grandstand still under construction.
The work looks top notch and there’s a round frame at the top- probably for the Presidential Seal. I also noticed glass partitions installed in the front and center rows. I bet those are probably bullet-proof. There’s also another grandstand structure opposite of this one. That’s probably as close as I’m going to get to the parade- or anything Inaugural for that matter.
More Inauguration Links
The Inauguration Committee on Twitter: http://twitter.com/obamainaugural
Volunteer for the Inauguration: http://www.pic2009.org/page/s/volunteer2