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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.

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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.

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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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