The wait is over. Hope is here. His era begins.

Melissa Dilley

Atmosphere becoming crazier by the minute

Sophomore journalism major Alex Vitale said she has no idea how she is going to get to work today.

Vitale is studying at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. this semester as part of the journalism semester in Washington.

Because of the 1.5 million people expected to travel to Washington, D.C. to witness the Inauguration of Barack Obama, all bridges crossing the Potomac will be closed, and a few metro stations will not be running, including Union Station, where Vitale stops daily.

As Obama’s inauguration gets closer, the scene in Washington, D.C. becomes crazier by the minute, Vitale said.

Vitale, a member of College Democrats, works at a nearby NBC news station, and her commute to work has become increasingly difficult as the inauguration draws closer.

“There are people in the metro who don’t know where they are going,” she said. “And you can definitely tell they are tourists here for the inauguration.”

Crowd Control

Although the official Inauguration will take place today, festivities began Saturday.

Sunday, a “We Are One” concert was held at the Lincoln Memorial. Performers including Bruce Springsteen, Garth Brooks and U2 drew crowds in numbers as high as an estimated 700,000 people in the National Mall.

“Although it gets worse every day, and there are definitely more people, every one is really happy,” Vitale said. “There are street vendors selling Obama things, and people have already started to celebrate.”

Because of the tremendous crowds that are expected, emergency funds have been put in place to heighten security. Many estimates show $150 million worth of funding has been put toward the Inauguration, three times as much as the $42.6 million George W. Bush spent on his second Inauguration in 2005.

In order to accommodate heavier traffic on both the roads and subways, streets have been closed to re-route traffic, and metro stations are planning to run at 200 percent capacity.

Inauguration Itinerary

The official Inauguration will begin today with daily worship. After church, Obama will lead a procession to the Capitol building where he will be sworn in, and George W. Bush will be escorted to a helicopter for a formal goodbye.

Obama’s first task as President is a luncheon, which will be followed by a parade down Pennsylvania Avenue where the new first family will be met by the millions of supporters who will crowd the nation’s Capitol.

When the parade has passed the White House, the Obamas will begin preparing to make appearances at five of the 10 inaugural balls planned for the evening.

Themes for the balls range from a Commander-In-Chief Ball where military personnel will mingle with the Obamas, to a Youth Ball at the Washington Hilton, which will be shown on MTV.

The Washington Standard

Tim Rudell, a WKSU reporter who will be covering the election from Washington, D.C., said that as early as last week, a celebratory feeling was emanating from the city.

“People are standing in the cold in lines outside of clubs to celebrate, and people are lining the street to sight-see. Everyone in the national area has a great sense of anticipation.”

Rudell, a Kent State alumnus, has worked for the Associated Press’ Washington, D.C. bureau and has lived in the area for 20 years. After leaving the AP recently, he decided to come back to the station that sparked his interest in broadcast. The Inauguration is his first report for WKSU.

However, while he’s new to WKSU, Rudell has been covering Inaugurations since Bill Clinton took office.

Rudell said Washington, D.C.’s infrastructure is built to hold 350,000 people in the National Mall, and the people who live and work there revolve their lives around politics, but the anticipation for this event is the most he has ever seen.

“This is the first time they will try to put a limit on the number of people who can accumulate in the National Mall,” Rudell said. “The city is, in many ways, built for celebration, but it will be quite an event, even by Washington standards.”

Although Rudell said many locals know better than to go out on an Inauguration Day, Vitale said she doesn’t think it will matter in this election.

“I know it’s going to be hectic, but I’m going to stick around to see if I can get a glimpse of the event,” Vitale said. “I think a lot of other people will feel the same because everyone is really excited to see what changes are going to be made. All in all, the chaos is worth it.”

Contact student politics reporter Melissa Dilley at