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TWT chronicles Obama’s big day
8:35 a.m. — President Obama and the first family leave the White House for the blocklong drive to St. John's Church across Lafayette Square for the first public event of his second inaugural celebration.
Mr. Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, daughters Sasha and Malia and Mrs. Obama’s mother entered the church for the private service three hours before Mr. Obama was to take his place at the ceremonial swearing-in ceremony on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol. Minutes later, Vice President Joseph R. Biden, his wife, Jill, and son Beau made their way into the church, stopping as did the Obamas to meet briefly with the Rev. Luis Leon, the St. John’s rector who delivered the inaugural benediction.
During the service, the Rev. Andy Stanley, pastor of the North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, Ga., asked in his sermon what a person’s responsibilities are when he realizes he is the most important person at a gathering.
The cleric said it was that person’s responsibility to leverage that power in the service of others, according to The Associated Press.
Addressing Mr. Obama directly, Mr. Stanley said, “Mr. President, you have an awfully big room. It’s as big as our nation.”
9:38 a.m. — The president waves to the crowd but makes no remarks to a throng of admirers before getting back into the presidential limousine for the drive back to the White House.
9:45 a.m. — It doesn’t have the numbers or the history-breaking vibe of four years ago, but many in the crowd said they still found a special satisfaction in Mr. Obama’s second inaugural celebration. Zuri Murrell, a physician from Los Angeles, said he made a point of traveling to Washington this time after not attending four years ago.
“I still feel like it’s a historic event — I want my children to be a part of it,” he said.
10:10 a.m. — Not all in the crowd are in a festive mood. As the crowds file into the Mall on a cold January morning, they are handed pamphlets inviting them to the “Disinauguration Ball” in Arlington.
“Democracy, as the American founders described it, was like two wolves and a sheep deciding on what’s for dinner,” reads the invitation, complete with a “Not My President” banner across the top.
10:26 a.m. — Former D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams is among the throng of city residents and visitors filing into the center of Washington on a day on which even VIPs have to trek to enjoy festivities along the Mall and Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest. Sporting a cap of the D.C. United soccer team, Mr. Williams rides by subway to Metro Center and is complimented by a passer-by who said he did a “fine job” as mayor from 1999 to 2007, a time of transformation as the District of Columbia got its fiscal house in order.
“I’m honored and grateful that we have a chance to finish what we started. Our work begins today. Let’s go,” the presidential tweet released early Monday morning read. The message was signed “-bo” — the designation Mr. Obama uses when he composes the messages on his Twitter feed at @BarackObama.
10:44 a.m. — The congressional delegation filing into the stands where Mr. Obama is to deliver his second inaugural address included at least one lawmaker who had hoped to be in a better seat.
Rep. Paul Ryan, Wisconsin Republican, was part of the bipartisan delegation in the temporary stands on the West Front of the Capitol. He was the Republican vice presidential nominee in the November election. Two other men who hoped for a different role also are part of the delegation — Sen. John F. Kerry, the failed Democratic nominee in 2004, and Sen. John McCain, who lost to Mr. Obama in 2008.
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