Obama Joins Crowd on Mall for Free Concert
By Debbi Wilgoren
A diverse and excited crowd converged on the Mall this afternoon to watch a star-studded concert that is the official start to the festivities marking the inauguration of Barack Obama as the nation's 44th president.
After cramming onto Metro trains and buses or strolling luxuriously across a bridge from Virginia where vehicular traffic had been banned, tens of thousands of concertgoers stood patiently in long security lines and sat on blankets or leaned against barrier fencing waiting to hear Bruce Springsteen, Queen Latifah, will.i.am and other stars serenade the president-elect, vice president elect and their families from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
Folks came from all over the Washington region and from South Carolina, California and Atlanta; from York, Maine, and Wayland, Mass.; and from a tiny city in Alaska known by the name "North Pole." Although some said they were attending the "We Are One" concert as a less-onerous way to catch their piece of history, many said they planned to bundle up again and join the even-larger throngs expected for Tuesday's swearing-in and inaugural parade.
"A part of history's going on," said Michael Nolan, 50, of Arlington, explaining why he'd be back on Tuesday. "If I don't [go], I won't be able to tell the stories later."
Posted at 4:12 PM ET on Jan 18, 2009
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