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Record Crowds Celebrate Historic US Presidential Inauguration

  • Shegoftah Queen
  • Anis Ahmed

More than a million people braved record crowds and freezing temperatures to witness the historic inauguration of President Barack Obama in Washington, DC.

Anis Ahmed and Shegoftah Nasreen Queen from VOA Bangla Service both witnessed the event first hand. They describe the historic event live as it unfolds.

Enthusiastic Americans and some foreigners filtered through security barricades early Tuesday to reach the National Mall to be part of the event.

Many revelers started their day well before dawn, pushing through the city's streets and jamming public transportation.

By the time the ceremony began, shoulder-to-shoulder crowds filled much of the three-point-two kilometer length of the Mall from the Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial.

Groups of students from distant cities and elderly residents of nearby neighborhoods snapped photos and bought souvenirs from vendors.

Some revelers waved American flags. Others wore t-shirts connecting the country's first African American president to the aspirations of the late civil rights leader, Martin Luther King Junior.

Much of the diverse crowd watched the ceremony unfold on big screens set up for the occasion.

The crowd cheered and chanted Mr. Obama's name during parts of his inaugural address -- and wept at others.

Mr. Obama spoke of the country's shared history, values and challenges. And he also mentioned America's racial struggles, noting that less than 60 years ago some local restaurants may have refused to serve his Kenyan father.

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