Crowds capture significance of today's inaugural events


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Inauguration Day is finally here, and later this morning we'll have a new president. Barack Obama will take the oath of office in Washington, D.C. to become America's 44th president and make history as the first African-American to hold the job.

More than a million people are expected to witness the event, filling the National Mall to capacity. Ten thousand members of the National Guard are also on hand to help manage the crowd.

This is a significant event for a number of reasons. Certainly, being sworn in as the nation's first African-American president is one of those.

At the spot where the ceremony will take place, thousands of people roamed around. They captured a piece of the historic event on their cameras. It's an event that puts one Utahn on cloud nine. Pastor France Davis of the Calvary Baptist Church worked with Martin Luther King Jr. himself on civil rights issues. He never thought he would see this day.

"I'm excited. This is the fulfillment of a hope and a dream. To have worked on the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and now in 2009 to have an African-American in this elected position, is a thrill," he said.

But the mood goes beyond race: Obama's attitude of bipartisanship is motivating people and engaging them in the political process. He started a new tradition with a bipartisan dinner last night, where he honored his formal political rival, John McCain, as an American hero.

There are a lot of issues that require leadership, and Barack Obama has a lot on his plate right now. He is clearly one leader who realizes that solutions don't come from one place, and we expect today's inaugural speech to reflect that.

We will have complete coverage on KSL-Channel 5, KSL Newsradio 102.7 FM/1160AM and KSL.com. Coverage begins at 8 a.m.

E-mail: rpiatt@ksl.com

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