Entire Mall Open for Inauguration
For the first time in history, the entire National Mall will be open to the public for an inauguration, the Presidential Inaugural Committee announced today.
Officials have been in talks for weeks about opening the Mall east of the Washington Monument so that more people could participate in the inauguration. The expansion means moving the staging of the inaugural parade off the Mall. In the past, the parade has been staged between 7th and 14th streets NW before marching bands and Boy
Scout troops make their way to Pennsylvania Avenue.
Today’s announcement makes it official.
"We’re grateful to local, federal, and military officials for their efforts to open up the National Mall to Americans who want to participate in this historic occasion,“ inaugural committee Executive Director Emmett S. Beliveau said in a statement. “These arrangements represent our committee’s continuing commitment to make next year’s historic inauguration as accessible as possible to citizens in Washington, D.C., and across the country.“
JumboTrons and an audio system will be placed throughout the Mall so that the public can see the swearing-in of President-elect Barack Obama.
In the past, the swearing-in viewing area has been bounded by 4th Street NW for ticket holders and to 7th Street NW for the general public. The ticketed area is limited to 240,000 people.
Last week, the committee, which is in charge of inaugural festivities, said it wanted to create “the most open and accessible inauguration in history.”
“This will be an Inauguration for all Americans,“ D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) said in a statement. “And so we are dedicated to opening it up so that people from across the country can gather together in America’s front yard. We remain hard at work to ensure the day’s festivities are safe and accessible for visitors, residents, and businesses alike.“
David A Nakamura
December 4, 2008; 12:13 PM ET
Presidential Inaugural Committee
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