Authorities in Washington have staged a large-scale dress rehearsal to prepare for the January 20 inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama.

A crowd cheered and the Marine band struck up "Hail to the Chief" as a stand-in for the president-elect put his left hand on a book and raised his right hand as if ready to take the oath of office. Twenty-six-year-old Army staff sergeant Derrick Brooks, who resembles Mr. Obama, stood in for the president-elect at the U.S. Capitol.

Brooks was among thousands of U.S. military service members who took part in Sunday's exercises, nine days before the actual ceremonies. Other inauguration day figures, including incoming Vice President Joe Biden, soon-to-be first lady Michelle Obama and the Obamas' daughters, Sasha and Malia, were portrayed by stand-ins.

Later, at the Capitol, the military practiced the landing of a helicopter that will take outgoing President George Bush to Andrews Air Force Base after Mr. Obama is sworn in.

Planners have said they expect millions of people to gather on Washington's National Mall for the inauguration of Mr. Obama, who will become the 44th president and the first African-American in that position. The Mall is a grassy expanse between the Capitol building and the Lincoln Memorial.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.