WASHINGTON, D.C. — In 2009 Chris Washington was living oversees. Like many Americans he watched the Presidential Inauguration with pride and admiration. But also a bit of jealousy at not being able to attend.
That will not be the case this year. Having moved to the D.C. area, Washington told himself that if President Barack Obama won re-election, he would make sure and be one of the thousands of on-lookers who will fill up the Washington Mall for the special occasion this year.
“As an African American I don’t know when I will have the opportunity to witness something like this again,” Washington said. “So I’m living in the D.C. area, I think it’s my opportunity to attend.”
The Inauguration ceremonies begin today when President Obama and Vice-president Joe Biden will attend a ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. Then, in front of a small group of family members and staff, Obama will officially be sworn in at the White House at 10:55 a.m. It’s a constitutional requirement that it has to be done on Jan. 20.
Obama will do it over again Monday in a public ceremony at the U.S. Capitol. Both times he will be sworn in by Supreme Court Justice John Roberts.
Thousands are expected to be on hand in below 40 degree weather to watch President Obama take the oath for the second time.
“The president, I think, is very appreciative of the fact that the American people have given him this opportunity to deliver a second inaugural address,” White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters this week.
Many people have come from all over the country and are paying $700 to $1,500 per night at area hotels just to be on hand. That includes Jenny Hardridge-Finley, who came from Tulsa with her daughter.