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Obama's Second Inaugural Day Dawns

Workers adjust the U.S. flag on the Capitol as preparations continue for the second inauguration of President Barack Obama.
Workers adjust the U.S. flag on the Capitol as preparations continue for the second inauguration of President Barack Obama.
By Heather Maher
U.S. President Barack Obama will take a public oath of office for his second term on the steps of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.

In accordance with the U.S. Constitution, which says a presidential term ends at noon on January 20, Obama was officially sworn into office on the morning of January 20 by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts in a private ceremony at the White House that lasted less than one minute.

"I, Barack Hussein Obama, do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States and will to the best of my ability preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States. So help me God," Obama pledged.

A crowd of 600,000 to 800,000 people is expected to come by bus, metro, taxi, and on foot to the inauguration ceremony on January 21. Nearly 1.8 million people attended Obama’s first inauguration in 2009.

WATCH: Live White House video feed of the inauguration


Pop singer Beyonce will perform the national anthem and 79-year-old Myrlie Evers-Williams, the widow of slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers, will deliver the invocation in an historic first for women.

In a nod to Latinos and gay people, two important voter groups who supported Obama’s reelection, the poet Richard Blanco, a 44-year-old gay, Cuban-American immigrant, will read a poem.

Watching Obama take the oath will be former Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter. Both former Bush presidents -- George Bush and his son, George W. Bush -- have sent their regrets, citing the elder’s recent health issues.

The White House says Obama’s inaugural speech will last roughly 20 minutes. The theme of this year’s inauguration is "Our People: Our Future.”

Festive Mood

After an inaugural luncheon at the Capitol, where guests will dine on lobster and clam chowder, a parade will begin the slow procession down Pennsylvania Avenue along a 2.4-kilometer route from the U.S. Capitol building to the White House.

In keeping with tradition, the presidential motorcade will stop at some point during the parade and the couple will get out and walk a few blocks in full view of thousands of spectators.

Washington is in a festive mood: around the Capitol and parade route, buildings and streetlights have been decorated with bunting and flags.

Pictures of the president and first family hang in store windows, and restaurants are featuring special drinks and menu items in honor of the inauguration.

Even Mother Nature is cooperating: earlier forecasts warning of bitter cold changed over the weekend, and the inauguration day forecast now calls for mild temperatures of 7 degrees Celsius.

City and federal officials have tight security measures in place. Thousands of law enforcement officers are out on the streets, restrictions on Washington’s airspace are in effect, and boats patrol the city’s waterways.

The Secret Service doesn’t talk about its security plan but at the 2009 inaugural had trained sharpshooters on roofs, bomb-sniffing dogs among the crowds, and hundreds of surveillance cameras set up.

No major protests are expected but a few small groups plan to demonstrate. The Arc of Justice Coalition plans to protest the Obama administration’s use of unmanned drones to attack targets abroad, according to organizer Malachy Killbride.

On the evening of January 21, Washington puts on its dancing shoes for two official inaugural balls -- down from 10 in 2009 -- and several private celebrations.

On January 22, the work of Obama’s second term begins.

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