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Inauguration Day

January 20, 2009 was a magical, as well as historical day.

Although the temperature dropped to the single digits with the wind whipping, that refused to stop two-million people strong from attending the 56th Presidential inauguration.

"Yes We Can" was President Barack Obama's rallying cry througout his campaign to be the 44th President and Commander-in-Chief.

The crowd that packed the National Mall (from the Capitol Building all the way back to the Washington Monument - over two miles) was an incredible combination of ecstatic jubilation and peaceful celebration. Security was extremely tight and lack of communication between law enforcement agencies made for long lines of supporters trying to ingress and egress The National Mall. However, the people would not be stopped - they wanted to see the first African American Commander-in-Chief get sworn in and would wait in lines as long as they had to to do so.

Although sub-freezing, it was a memorable day not only for the people in attendance, but for all Americans and many millions of people the world over.

Much to the delight of on-lookers, President Obama gave a rousing inaugural address; perhaps his most memorable quote of the day was "...This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed, why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall. And why a man whose father less than 60 years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath."

When President Obama uttered that phrase, the crowd exploded in cheers.

According to the statisticians, the inauguration of President Obama ignited 35,000 news stories around the world, more than 30 times the number published about the last such occasion.

So yes, hope is alive and doing quite well as I witnessed that most memorable of days.

The crowd awaits President Obama's Inaugural Address on the National Mall, January 20, 2009

The anticipation builds

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Obama supporters packed the National Mall for the Inaugural ceremony

Estimates of the Obama inaugural crowd STILL vary widely as of this writing (Feb. 26, 2009) but range from a low of 800,000 to a high of 3,000,000

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Inaugural attendees struggle to get a view *

Security at the Obama inauguration was overly tight which resulted, amazingly, in some people with tickets being denied admission to the ceremony

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Post-inaugural crowd attempts to exit the National Mall *

The National Guard closed Constitution Avenue from the Capitol to 18th Street, NW, creating a bottleneck of tens and tens of thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of people pleading to be let out

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People waiting to exit the National Mall grounds

Hundred's of thousands of Obama supporters waited. And waited. And waited. And waited to exit the National Mall grounds post-inauguration thanks to a severe lack of communication between all the law enforcement agencies involved, particularly the Secret...

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Jam-packed inaugural crowd

This is as close as the photographer could get to the actual inaugural podium where President Obama was giving his inaugural address; and the photographer had a PRESS PASS!

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Inaugural crowd fenced in *

As you can see in this photo, hundreds of thousands of Obama inaugural attendees were plain and simply "fenced in," disallowing egress for many hours in sub-freezing temperatures

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Inauguration day Stars and Stripes, 2009 *

Behind the Presidential Inaugural Podium (bottom right, clear colored) can be seen many different and historical versions of the American flag hanging from the Capitol Building

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United States Capitol Building, January 20, 2009 *

While it like a perfectly beautiful day in this 2009 inauguration photo, the wind chill put the temperature into the single digits. Note Secret Service agents on top of photo surveying the crowd

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American Flags at the inauguration, January 20, 2009

Perhaps a million small, American flags were passed out to onlookers at the National Mall which were then waved in approval every time the President stated something to rouse the crowd of two million (Note: the two million crowd estimate is according to...

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Electricity was in the air for Barack's inauguration!

In spite of below freezing temperatures, at least two million showed up for the 56th Presidential Inauguration. The crowd was filled with jubilation and glee

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Obama inaugural attendees roar their support for the new Commander in Chief

This history-making day brought people from all over the world together to join in the celebration. The crowd was so peaceful yet energetic it was surreal

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