Obama swears in as president

The inauguration is the formal ceremony marking the transfer of power between US presidents. The only eventus capitol building mandated by the US constitution that has to happen for a new president to assume office is the swearing-in before noon on January 20th. It takes about a minute. All the other trappings – the speech, parade, balls, music, and a luncheon – have appeared over time and become tradition.

The events reflect the personality of the new president. This year’s inauguration will be four days of official and unofficial festivities in and around Washington starting on Sunday. During a time of economic and world crisis, having a four-day party may seem out of touch, but the Obamas want to celebrate their popularity and signal a changing of the guard. 

Around two and four million people are expected to turn out on January 20, 2009 to see Barack Obama sworn in as the 44th president of the US. The record crowd may fill the city of Washington, from the Capitol building all the way down the National Mall to the Lincoln Memorial, a distance of nearly 3km.

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