Local News

All about Obama's inauguration

Posted January 15, 2009
Updated January 19, 2009

— WRAL News is headed to Washington, along with millions of other Americans, to witness the inauguration of President Barack Obama.

WRAL in D.C.

David Crabtree will anchor our coverage beginning Sunday night. Dan Bowens will report from the National Mall. Gerald Owens will join a busload of fellow North Carolinians and reporting on their journey.

They'll be blogging, too, contributing stories, photos and video about the crowds and chaos to WRAL.com starting early Monday.

WRAL-TV and WRAL.com will offer live coverage throughout the day on Tuesday, beginning with the WRAL Morning News at 5 and extending through the day.

Tune in to WRAL News beginning at 5 p.m. for a wrap-up of the day's events, then log on to WRAL.com for a CBS special report in prime time on WRAL.com. We'll cap the festivities with live coverage from David and Dan in WRAL News at 11.

Share your stories

You can share your thoughts on the historic event during a live blog on GOLO from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

If you are going to Washington, D.C., we want to share your stories as well. Send us an e-mail about your experience. Upload a photo or video from your cell phone. We'll publish your experiences on WRAL.com and the best may make TV.

Log Tuesday for photo galleries of the ceremony, parade and inaugural balls.

Getting there, getting around

Washington, D.C., police estimate as many as 4 million people will crowd into the district Monday and Tuesday.

Fewer than 600,000 tickets were available to see the swearing-in and parade. The rest of the crowd will gather on the National Mall, where there will be jumbo TVs broadcasting the swearing-in.

Washington's Metro system will run subway trains and buses throughout the day, but officials say they expect major delays downtown. Driving is discouraged as a large portion of downtown streets will have restricted access from Monday at 3 p.m. through Wednesday at 7 a.m.

All the bridges entering D.C. from Virginia will be closed at 2 a.m. Tuesday. Most roads and bridges are expected to reopen by 7 p.m. Inauguration Day.

The DOT will be using dynamic message signs to inform motorists of heavy traffic conditions expected north of Richmond, Va. The department will also be working with transportation officials in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. to alert northbound and southbound motorists of any incidents and delays.

Schedule of events

The Associated Press released this schedule of some official and unofficial activities surrounding Barack Obama's inauguration on Jan. 20:


National Day of Community Service event: To honor Dr. King's legacy, Obama, Biden and their families, joined by Americans across the country, will participate in activities dedicated to serving others in communities across the Washington, D.C. area.

Black Tie & Boots Inaugural Ball, sponsored by the Texas State Society, at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center.

Green Inaugural Ball at the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture. Ball hosted by former Vice President Al Gore.

Huffington Post preinaugural ball at the Newseum.

Hip-Hop Inaugural Ball at the Harman Center for the Arts. Hosted by the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network, Russell Simmons, LL Cool J, among others.

A children's evening concert at the Verizon Center honoring military families. Event hosted by Michelle Obama, who will attend. Miley Cyrus, the Jonas Brothers are among the entertainers.

Obama to attend three private dinners to honor former secretary of State Colin Powell, Biden and Sen. John McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, for their public service. Dinners at the Hilton Washington, National Building Museum and Union Station.


Gates to the Inaugural Ceremony open at 8 a.m. The inaugural festivities are scheduled to start at 10 a.m. on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol. They will include:

Musical selections of The United States Marine Band, followed by the San Francisco Boys Chorus and the San Francisco Girls Chorus.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein provides call to order and welcoming remarks.

Invocation by the Rev. Rick Warren.

Musical selection of Aretha Franklin.

Biden will be sworn into office by Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens.

Musical selection of John Williams, composer/arranger with Itzhak Perlman, (violin), Yo-Yo Ma (cello), Gabriela Montero (piano) and Anthony McGill (clarinet).

Obama will take the Oath of Office, using President Lincoln's Inaugural Bible, administered by Chief Justice John Roberts. Scheduled around noon.

Obama gives the inaugural address.

Poem by Elizabeth Alexander.

Benediction by Rev. Joseph E. Lowery.

The National Anthem by The United States Navy Band "Sea Chanters."

After Obama gives inaugural address, he will escort outgoing President George W. Bush to a departure ceremony before attending a luncheon in the Capitol's Statuary Hall.

The 56th Inaugural Parade will then make its way down Pennsylvania Avenue from the Capitol to the White House.

Later that day, the Presidential Inaugural Committee will host 10 official inaugural balls:

Neighborhood Inaugural Ball at the Washington Convention Center.

Obama Home States (Illinois and Hawaii) Inaugural Ball at the Washington Convention Center.

Biden Home States (Pennsylvania and Delaware) Inaugural Ball at the Washington Convention Center.

Midwest Inaugural Ball at the Washington Convention Center.

Mid-Atlantic Inaugural Ball at the Washington Convention Center.

Western Inaugural Ball at the Washington Convention Center.

Commander in Chief's Ball at the National Building Museum.

Southern Inaugural Ball at the National Guard Armory.

Eastern Inaugural Ball at Union Station.

Youth Inaugural Ball at the Washington Hilton.

Unofficial balls include:

Congressional Black Caucus Inaugural Ball at the Capitol Hilton.

Creative Coalition Inaugural Ball at the Harman Center for the Arts.

Recording Industry Association of America's ball for Feeding America.

BET's Inaugural Ball at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel.

Africa on the Potomac inaugural celebration at Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, Va.

American Music Inaugural Ball at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel.

Inaugural Purple Ball at the Fairmont Hotel.

Human Rights Campaign's Equality Ball at the Renaissance Mayflower Hotel.

Inaugural Peace Ball at the Smithsonian National Postal Museum.

Impact Film Fund ball.


The president, vice president and their families will participate in a prayer service at the Washington National Cathedral.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • ThinkChick Jan 16, 2009


    John Adams - Facts are stubborn things.

    Stick to them. The divergent spin on inaugural price tags was the point and the double standards thereof, not race.

    Try and keep up...

  • homeimprovement Jan 16, 2009

    He should have a party.. they all do. He should not drink too much that night, reality will set in the next day.

  • curiousgeorgia Jan 16, 2009

    Wildervb, I don't think that saving over 10 million lives from AIDS and several millions more from malaria is a bad legacy. Even though he wasn't the brightest president (down right foolish to listen to his advisors on Iraq) time will tell whether he was the worst.

    By the way, does anybody know if Barry invited his other grandmother to the inauguration? She is a lively, feisty lady living in Luoland in Kenya.

  • christineswisher Jan 16, 2009

    I just think it's a shame that this much hoopla and money is being wasted on something that would take approximately 10 minutes to accomplish - with all the economic woes and the outcry from the lib dems, this shindig would be a little more understated - shame on them all. Just a glimpse into the gross overspending a'comin!

  • veyor Jan 16, 2009

    Obama: supported legislation to ban the manufacture, sale, and possession of handguns - 9/9/96 Said, "I'm consistantly on record as opposing concealed carry nationwide." 4/27/04 voted to ban almost all rifle ammunition 7/29/05 voted to uphold gun bans and criminal prosecution of people who use firearms in self-defence 3/25/04 ... Just some of what is coming.

  • wildervb Jan 16, 2009

    "Those people loading up on buses for DC must not realize they will have to walk miles once they get there. 99% of them still cannot name one thing Obama has accomplished in his years in the senate or anywhere else."

    It doesn't realy matter does it? We've had eight years of the worst imaginable leadership in modern times, these people now have hope, hope that things should get a little bit better.

  • freddie cadetti 72 Jan 16, 2009

    Those people loading up on buses for DC must not realize they will have to walk miles once they get there. 99% of them still cannot name one thing Obama has accomplished in his years in the senate or anywhere else.

  • nxtlvl4me Jan 16, 2009

    This “ordination” of Obama, veyor & thickchick, post the economic, legal and war entrenched disaster of the last 8 years is no different than the “ordination” of Bush post (at least just after) 9/11. The difference is that outsiders brought 9/11 on us!!!

  • nxtlvl4me Jan 16, 2009

    “Attention Shoppers! Only three shopping days left until the 2nd Amendment is thrown away, never to be seen again!” –Worland & political honest not pc

    Are lies the only thing you have for a foundation to your arguments/positions?? If so, how pathetic!!!!

  • Politically Honest NOT PC Jan 16, 2009

    "Attention Shoppers! Only three shopping days left until the 2nd Amendment is thrown away, never to be seen again!"

    Please, don't forget to go to the Dixie Knife & Gun Show this weekend at the fairgrounds.

    It may very well be the last one ever.