0

A day pulsing with history follows very old script

President Barack Obama supporters wave American flags on the National Mall in Washington, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013, prior to the start of President Barack Obama's ceremonial swearing-in ceremony during the 57th Presidential Inauguration.

President Barack Obama supporters wave American flags on the National Mall in Washington, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013, prior to the start of President Barack Obama's ceremonial swearing-in ceremony during the 57th Presidential Inauguration.

WASHINGTON — For once, the drumbeats of division receded and Americans of every ornery opinion gathered to witness history unfold in President Barack Obama's second-term inauguration.

Obama hears pastor's advice ahead of swearing-in

A pastor used a morning church service to counsel President Barack Obama to use his power for the benefit of others.

That was part of the sermon delivered Monday morning at St. John's Episcopal Church across from the White House. The president attended with his family before taking the oath of office for his second term.

Pastor Andy Stanley of North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, Ga., delivered the sermon. He asked what one should do when they realize they are the most powerful person in the room.

The answer, Stanley said? Leverage that power for others.

To the president, Stanley said: "Mr. President you have an awfully big room."

Hours before Monday's pageantry, people on foot spilled out of Metro stations near the White House and streamed toward the festivities, military vehicles and buses sealed off intersections blocks from the White House and commuters packed coffee shops, among the few businesses open on an inauguration falling on the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr.

A heavy and steady stream of people headed toward the National Mall as the sun rose, but there wasn't the same early morning crush of humanity of Obama's first swearing-in four years ago. No one expected a repeat of those unprecedented crowds, nor quite the same adrenaline-pumping excitement. But for many thousands, it was not to be missed.

David Richardson, 45, brought his children, Camille, 5, and Miles, 8, from Atlanta to soak it all in and to show them, in Obama's achievement, that "anything is possible through hard work."

The "mostly Republican" Vicki Lyons, 51, of Lakewood, Colo., called the experience "surreal" and "like standing in the middle of history."

She didn't vote for Obama and voiced plenty of worry about the nation's future but said: "No matter who the president is, everybody needs to do this at least once."

Outside the Capitol, scene of Obama's noontime inaugural speech, people had their pictures taken with the flag-draped building in the background. It was cool with a steady breeze, but the crowd was spared the biting cold of four years earlier.

Kenya Strong, a 37-year-old financial analyst from Charlotte, N.C, brought her daughter, Ty, for the second time. Like Richardson, she said the event holds lessons for the young.

"It's really important for her to understand that her potential is endless," she said. "You have so much to live and look forward to, for yourself personally, for our country — just to see that there's more than the here and now."

Ty Strong, now 15, toted a new camera and broader expectations than in 2009 about the kind of people she'd meet — not just African-Americans like herself.

"There were a lot of different faces among the crowd that you don't expect to see on an everyday basis — like more foreigners," she said. "It was nice."

At mid-morning, Metro subway trains through downtown Washington were no more crowded than they would be on a typical workday — except few were going to work. Although transit officials urged riders coming in from the suburbs not to change trains, passengers had little trouble switching at the busy Metro Center station.

Terry Alexander, a Democratic state representative from South Carolina, and his wife, Starlee Alexander, were taking a leisurely ride from their downtown hotel to Union Station. Four years ago, they had to ride a bus to the Pentagon from their Virginia hotel and walk across the 14th Street Bridge to the National Mall.

"It was crazy," he said. "This is calm. Last time, we couldn't even get down in the tunnel to get to the trains."

Obama's motorcade went into motion several hours before the speech, taking him with his family to St. John's Episcopal Church near the White House for a service. Before the sermon, R&B performer Ledisi sang the solo "I Feel Like Goin' On."

On recent visits to the "Church of Presidents," Obama has taken to ditching the motorcade in favor of walking back to the White House through Lafayette Park.

But this was a day for a speech, a parade and the decorative rituals of power, not an idle stroll.

Comments

bubbasmithredneck 1 year, 2 months ago

I have some very good seats here at the MALL here in Washington, D. C. The atmosphere is electric and everyone is excited. I cant wait to see the BEST PRESIDENT in my lifetime accept the job for 4 MORE YEARS!!! GO BARACK OBAMA!!!! This is AWESOME!!!!

0

FryarTuk 1 year, 2 months ago

You are probably black so be proud. Nothing wrong with that. It's a historic event and you're caught up in the bowels of excitement. Great. It coincides with King day even more intoxicating for your group. If you see Barry remind him he has some work to do. He doesn't have to torpedo again the resolution of the economic problems to enhance his re-election. Git err done!

0

agirl_25 1 year, 2 months ago

OMG if he is caught up in the bowels of excitement we know what comes next don't we.......hahahha..everyone stand back.......for we may all be in for a mess...hahahaha...someone grab the Charmin.......

0

FryarTuk 1 year, 2 months ago

I didn't figure you would be the one to grab on to that one 'atagirl. Happy New Year, Sweetheart.

0

agirl_25 1 year, 2 months ago

hahahahhahaha........we have to stop meeting like this...people will talk......darling....hahaha,,,and btw........as far as The Cookie Shoppe goes....I went, I ate, I almost died....haha....the food is to die for....so good...I had a sugar rush.....the desserts are soooooo good.....I shall return to Albany one day soon...believe it or not.....when our cupboards grow bare we will return to the MCLB ........ta da...thanks everyone for recommending it.......

0

bubbasmithredneck 1 year, 2 months ago

I am so glad the majority of Americans do not follow the negativity of some of the people in south georgia......America is waay MORE than the opinions of the few down there in the country....

0

FryarTuk 1 year, 2 months ago

This maybe an opportune moment for you to permanently relocate to D.C. to avoid us in the klan. I hope you don't leave us though. It would create a void for ole Sis as she dearly loves kicking yo' butt. And it can be entertaining.

0

bubbasmithredneck 1 year, 2 months ago

she is weak and no competition.....BTW, your posts suck pretty good too!

0

Sister_Ruby 1 year, 2 months ago

Does your BMW get good gas mileage?

0

bigbob 1 year, 2 months ago

Was Monica kneeling down in front of him?

0

FryarTuk 1 year, 2 months ago

No, he was escorting her to meet John Boehner. What she could do for him and you know he needs it after dealing with all those puritanical right wingnut hypocrites.

0

bubbasmithredneck 1 year, 2 months ago

The best day in 2013 so far!!!!!! I'm proud to be an AMERICAN!!!!!

0

FryarTuk 1 year, 2 months ago

Me too. Please tell Slick Willie we miss him.

0

Sign in to comment