The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

World, nation, state

January 21, 2013

A day pulsing with history follows very old script

WASHINGTON —  

 It was altogether a more intimate affair than four years ago. Just a party of untold hundred thousands, chilling in the nation's backyard.

President Barack Obama's inauguration Monday brought out a festive crowd of flag-wavers who filled the National Mall to overflowing, hailed his moment with lusty cheers and spent their down time spotting celebrities amid the bunting.

No match for the staggering masses and adrenaline-pumping energy of his first turn as president on the West Front of the Capitol. But a lively second act.

After a roaring rendition of the "Battle Hymn of the Republic" came James Taylor strumming his guitar and singing "America the Beautiful." Then an all-for-show swearing-in, replicating the official one Sunday.

Then Obama spoke, as all presidents must in one way or another, about "one nation and one people," healing words after a battering ram of an election and before the partisan struggles ahead. The address clocked in at 18 minutes, about the same as in 2009.

Sharon Davis of Suitland, Md., retired after 22 years in the Air Force, said it all made her proud beyond words. "There's a lot of energy here today," she said. "But it doesn't compare to last time, when it was just off the charts."

Spectators stood five to six deep along the broad sweep of Pennsylvania Avenue for the afternoon inaugural parade, featuring more than 8,800 military and civilian participants in floats, marching bands, dance troupes and more. Chinese-American folk dancers from Delaware, a Kansas University trumpet ensemble, Boston College "Screaming Eagles" and Idaho firefighters contributed to the eclectic mix.

It took 90 minutes for Katasha Smart of Randallstown, Md., to get through security and into position for the parade after walking from near the Washington Monument, where video and audio malfunctions made Obama's address hard to see and hear.

"The energy level is lower," she said. "Before it was just so exciting — you could be walking for miles and miles and it didn't even feel like an effort."

Hours before the pageantry, people on foot spilled out of Metro stations near the White House and streamed toward the scene, official vehicles sealed off intersections blocks from the White House and Obama stood for a blessing in the "Church of Presidents."

The service at St. John's Episcopal Church captured the intended tone of the day: unity. Bishop Vashti McKenzie of the African Methodist Episcopal Church spoke in the blessing of "this new season of opportunity after conflicting opinions and visions and platforms clanged against each other like a resounding gong. "

A sea of people filled stretches of the National Mall from the West Front of the Capitol back to the Washington Monument and beyond, to the reflecting pool. No one expected a repeat of the unprecedented crowds of four years ago. 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. Justices, lawmakers, Cabinet members and former presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter filled prime seats. Katy Perry, Eva Longoria and John Mayer were among stars on the platform. Kelly Clarkson sang "My Country, 'Tis of Thee," and Beyonce closed with the national anthem.

It was overcast with a breeze, 40 degrees at noon, sparing the crowd the biting cold morning 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 midmorning, Metro subway trains through downtown Washington were no more crowded than they would be on a typical workday — except few were going to work.

Transit officials said 308,000 train passengers entered the system as of 11 a.m., down 40 percent from the same period in the 2009 inauguration.

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. 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 many decorative rituals of power, not an idle stroll.

His inaugural speech over, heading into the Capitol before a luncheon of bison and lobster in Statuary Hall, Obama briefly lingered and turned his gaze back to the crowd.

"I want to take a look, one more time," he said. "I'm not going to see this again."

___

Associated Press writers Richard Lardner, Alan Fram, Darlene Superville, Ben Nuckols, David Dishneau, Donna Cassata, Nancy Benac and Matthew Barakat contributed to this report.

 

 

1
Text Only
World, nation, state
  • Troubled childhoods may prompt men to volunteer for military service

    In the era of the all-volunteer U.S. military, men who served are more than twice as likely as those who never did to have been sexually abused as children and to have grown up around domestic violence and substance abuse, a new study has found.

    July 24, 2014

  • As poverty continues to rise, fewer Ohioans are receiving state aid

    The number of Ohioans receiving public assistance continues to drop even while poverty increases, raising questions about how the state helps the poor.

    July 24, 2014

  • ’Saltwater’ from fracking spill much different from ocean water

    In early July, a million gallons of salty drilling waste spilled from a pipeline onto a steep hillside in western North Dakota’s Fort Berthold Reservation. The waste — a byproduct of oil and gas production — has now reached a tributary of Lake Sakakawea, which provides drinking water to the reservation.

    July 24, 2014

  • 40 bodies from jet solemnly returned to Dutch soil

    Victims of the Malaysian jetliner shot down over Ukraine returned at last Wednesday to Dutch soil in 40 wooden coffins, solemnly and gently carried to 40 identical hearses, flags at half-staff flapping in the wind.

    July 23, 2014

  • U.S. pushes for truce as Gaza battle rages

    The United States announced signs of progress in cease-fire talks Wednesday, but prospects for a quick end to the fighting were dim as Palestinian families fled fierce battles in southern Gaza and the death toll rose to more than 700 Palestinians and 34 Israelis.

    July 23, 2014

  • GROUNDED U.S., other countries ban flights to and from Israel

    A Hamas rocket exploded Tuesday near Israel’s main airport, prompting a ban on all flights from the U.S. and many from Europe and Canada as aviation authorities responded to the shock of seeing a civilian jetliner shot down over Ukraine.

    July 23, 2014

  • REPORT: Retaliation by supervisors common at VA

    A pharmacy supervisor at the VA was placed on leave after complaining about errors and delays in delivering medications to patients at a hospital in Palo Alto, California. In Pennsylvania, a doctor was removed from clinical work after complaining that on-call doctors were refusing to go to a VA hospital in Wilkes-Barre.

    July 22, 2014

  • Veteran's Ducks Iraq vet cited for owning 14 therapeutic pet ducks

    An Army veteran who hurt his back during the Iraq War is worried a citation will result in him losing his 14 pet ducks, which he says are therapeutic.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Stacked Apartment.jpg New York building shows how mod design stacks up as cool

    In a city piled high with ambitious architecture, a seven-floor structure off the beaten path boasts a distinction of its own: It’s billed as the first multistory, modular-built apartment building to open in the nation’s apartment capital.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Scores dead in first major ground battle in Gaza

    The first major ground battle in two weeks of Israel-Hamas fighting exacted a steep price Sunday: It killed 65 Palestinians and 13 Israeli soldiers and forced thousands of terrified Palestinian civilians to flee their neighborhood, reportedly used to launch rockets at Israel and now devastated by the fighting.

    July 21, 2014

House Ads
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
AP Video