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Energized Crowds Swarm Washington, DC for Inauguration


Swarms of people flocked to downtown Washington D.C. Tuesday, braving massive crowds and freezing temperatures to witness Barack Obama's historic inauguration.

More than a million people poured onto the National Mall, waving American flags, cheering and chanting. Some began crying as Mr. Obama delivered his inaugural address. Much of the crowd watched the moment on big screens set up around the Capitol.

Others crammed into the areas along the inaugural parade route, arriving early to secure their spots. Officials began closing entrances to the route as it reached capacity.

Many revelers started their day well before dawn, pushing through the city's streets and public transit systems. Some especially devoted people camped out on the Mall overnight in tents made of cardboard boxes.

Subway stations opened early and added extra trains, but cars were still cramped and lines out of many key stations slowed to a crawl.

By sunrise, the streets around the Capitol were packed. The crowds trickled through security checkpoints and around street vendors selling all kinds of souvenirs to honor the occasion.

Excited participants snapped photos on cameras and cell phones to capture their own special moment in history.

Taking photos was one of the few functions cell phones could perform by mid-morning, as networks clogged because of the massive amount of users.

City officials closed down additional roads, entrances and subway stations, making it difficult, if not impossible, for later-risers to access the Mall.

One key subway station was closed briefly in the morning after a 68-year-old woman fell onto the tracks. She was taken to a hospital with non life-threatening injuries. Initial reports said the woman was hit by a train, but officials later disputed that account.

Washington was not the only place hosting inauguration celebrations. Energized crowds also gathered in other cities across the United States and around the world.

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