“The dream of our founders will live on in our time . . . What gives me hope is what I see when I look out across this mall.”
Tens of thousands of people showed up in frigid temperatures to be a part of the pre-inaugural festivities for President-Elect Barack Obama. The two-hour festivities culminated a day that began with a wreath-laying at Arlington Cemetery, followed by a church service. Along the National Mall between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument, people watched the festivites on giant screens, seemingly oblivious to plunging temperatures as they sang along to “America the Beautiful” and “This Land is Your Land.”
People at home watched courtesy of HBO, which televised the ceremony live free for subscribers and non-subscribers alike, and repeated the show again at 11:30 p.m. EST.
Performers and speakers at the celebration included Martin Luther King III, Tom Hanks, Sheryl Crowe, Jamie Foxx, Denzel Washington, Tiger Woods, Jon Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen, Mary J. Blige, Beyonce, Stevie Wonder, Bettye Lavette, Herbie Hancock, Queen Latifah, John Legend, and many, many more.
Both the president elect, and the vice president elect spoke briefly to the crowd.