Scenes From the Inauguration

More than one million people gathered on the National Mall and the streets by the Capitol in Washington, D.C., for a chance to witness the inauguration of President Barack Obama.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Lincoln Memorial

Inauguration Day had arrived, and Daniel Tostado, 19, visiting from Indiana, sat on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial at 4 a.m., waiting for much of the city to awake to greet it. "This is the spot," he said, hands jammed in his trench coat pockets as he gazed out at a horizon aglow with the U.S. Capitol.

He was not alone for long. Scott Moore, 19, and his brother John, 21, just off a plane from Chicago, came for a look at Lincoln and to mouth the majestic words etched on the wall. Then Martin Lam, 31, visiting from San Francisco, rolled up on a scooter.

Jimmy McGee, 46, a loan officer from Atlanta, led his wife and three sons up the stairs just before 5 a.m.

"Oh, wow," he said, eying the spot where Martin Luther King Jr. gave his "I Have a Dream" speech. He summoned his children -- Asher, 7; Noah, 11; and Jay, 15 -- for a quick history lesson. "He stood right here. Right here."

McGee then took their hands and closed his eyes. "Thank you for this day, Lord," he said. "Thank you."

-- Paul Schwartzman * * *

South Side of the Mall

As the skies began to lighten, Palmer Reising was standing atop a duffel bag wedged between two branches of a tree, about nine feet off the ground.

"Smile," said the 43-year-old from Cincinnati, snapping another photo on someone else's camera. "Ooh, that was a good one."

People below used Reising as a landmark.

"Do you see the guy in the tree?" a man several yards away said into his cellphone. "I'm near him."


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