Rob Walker, thanks for getting this story out so quickly. It will now show up on the home page for four hours. If new developments justify it, I'll renew this flag for another cycle.
Barack Obama Takes Office as President: Inauguration Blog
Barack Hussein Obama has been sworn in as President of the United States, marking him as the 44th president and the first African American to be elected to the United States highest office. Obama said in his speech that this is a moment that will define a generation.
Live Blogging - Terri Potratz
6:55pm EST - The parade has ended; Barack and Michelle Obama have left the reviewing stand and returned to the White House.
6:16pm EST - Most of the people in the reviewing stand have left, but President and First Lady Obama remain and continue to watch the parade, saluting and waving to the performers.
5:05pm EST - President and First Lady dancing along to parade music in the reviewing stand! They look like they're having such a good time.
5:03pm EST - Hawaiians make surfers' "hang loose" gesture (aka Shaka sign) towards Obama, and he does it back to them! So cute.
5:01pm EST - Parade ensues, Obama salutes them. Laughing and enjoying the scene.
4:56pm EST - Sasha and Malia accompany their parents towards the reviewing stand, arrive and greet the people inside. President Obama and First Lady appear to be in incredibly good spirits.
4:53pm EST - People are taking their seats in the reviewing stand, it is expected that the parade will conclude in near-darkness due to the late start. President Obama and the First Lady remain in the White House, the Bidens are walking towards the White House.
4:40pm EST - Parade is over, President and First Lady enter the White House through the South doors. Will soon emerge from the North, walk across the lawn towards reviewing stand to watch the rest of the parade.
4:29pm EST - The Obamas exit the limo and do yet another walk, the cheering crowd is deafening. Turning the corner onto the final stretch up to the White House.
4:23pm EST - Motorcade is nearing the White House, about to turn the last corner.
4:12pm EST - The Obamas and Bidens walked in front of the limo for a good distance along Pennsylvania Avenue, waving and smiling at the cheering crowds and guarded by Secret Service agents. Got back into limo after a short while.
3:52pm EST - Could take up to two hours to go through the entire parade route, even though it's only 1.7 miles long, as presidential limo is moving slowly. Everyone is wondering when and where the Obamas will stop to go outside and be seen by people.
3:47pm EST - The procession has not stopped yet. Lots of flags in the parade and among the crowd, which is loudly cheering as the presidential limo rolls past. Obama daughters can be seen in the back of the limousine as well.
3:43pm EST - Motorcade is about a third of the way through route. The Beast limo has windows and doors that are many inches thick. Obamas are waving to crowd through closed windows. Being led by police motorcycles, with band and military officers marching at the rear.
3:25pm EST - Presidential limo is 'essentially a rolling tank with windows,' been dubbed The Beast by Secret Service agents. On the move, flanked by four agents in black suits walking alongside the vehicle.
3:21pm EST - Band marches past Obamas and Bidens. Michelle Obama looks visibly nervous.
3:18pm EST - Michelle and Barack Obama, Joe Biden receive instructions on East steps of Capitol building before the motorcade procession. Troops are lined down the length of the stairs. Obamas exit the buildling and walk arm in arm down stairs, joined by Bidens.
3:14pm EST - Hatch says Kennedy was conscious ad gave 'his old Irish grin' before being loaded into ambulance, and feels that he will be ok.
3:08pm EST - Guests are leaving the inaugural luncheon; some talk to media and note that their thoughts and prayers are with both Byrd and Kennedy. Obama went to Kennedy's aid as soon as he saw that something was wrong.
3:03pm EST - Byrd had a medical issue first and Kennedy had a seizure shortly after, CNN reports. Theresa Kerry, wife of John Kerry, is thought to have rendered assistance to Kennedy. Barack and Michelle Obama exit the luncheon room, greet and thank guests as they depart.
2:50pm EST - Barack Obama and Joe Biden are toasted at the luncheon among members of Congress. The future of America rests in their hands, speakers salute the President and everyone stands to toast. Obama makes a speech.
2:42pm EST - Senator Robert Byrd, the oldest senator, has reportedly collapsed within the luncheon hall. There is some confusion as to whether it was Byrd who collapsed or another senator. It may be Senator Ted Kennedy, who has a brain tumour. Confusion as to who actually fell.
2:37pm EST - Luncheon is about to end, Obama reportedly 'worked the room' just like at a wedding. Business has begun.
2:30pm EST - Inaugural parade scheduled to begin, organized by the Armed Forces. Tickets are not required for this event. Route spans from Capitol Hill to the White House, 1.7 miles.
Live Blogging - Rob Walker
1:31pm EST - President of the United States Barack Obama walked into statuary hall on Capitol Hill to the tune of 'Hail to the Chief', the first time it is played for him. He was accompanied by his wife Michelle and 200 guests, who will have lunch before Obama heads to the White House.
12:42pm EST - Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States, escorts former President George W. Bush to the waiting helicopter which will fly Bush to his retirement in Texas. Obama will move into the President's chamber on Capitol hill to sign some documents.
12:31pm EST - The Poet Elizabeth Alexander, chosen by Obama, read aloud from her poem. Here is an excerpt: "Praise song for the day. Each day we go about our business. Walking past each other, catching each other's eyes - or not. About to speak or speaking. All about us is noise. All about us is noise and bramble, thorn and din, each one of our ancestors on our tongues."
12:17pm EST - Barack Obama gives his first speech as President of the United States. He thanked now-former president George W. Bush for his help during the transition. Obama spoke about the 43 previous Presidents and the difficulties that can come with it.
"That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age."
I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.
12:05pm EST - Barack Hussein Obama is officially sworn in as President of the United States with a couple of minor fumbles during the swearing-in. He was sworn in using Lincoln's bible by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Junior.
12:01pm EST - Barack Obama technically becomes the president of the United States, as the oath is merely a formality. He is enjoying the musical stylings of Yo-yo Ma and others as the hour passes.
11:58am EST - Joe Biden is sworn in as Vice President of the United States by Justice John Paul Stevens.
11:50am EST - Controversial pastor Rick Warren gives the invocation to a small scattering of applause. Aretha Franklin takes to the mic to sing 'My Country 'Tis of Thee' immediately afterwards.
11:48am EST - The chair of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies Sen. Dianne Feinstein introduced the ceremony, talking about the importance of the Inauguration.
"Future generations will mark this morning as the turning point for real and necessary change in our nation."
11:45am EST - President-elect Barack Obama is announced to a roar of cheering clapping from the hundreds of thousands of people assembled. He made his way down to the stairs looking solemn and focused, and when he reached the top he broke into his trademark grin.
Cheers of 'Obama' echoed through the giant crowd as a literal sea of flags waved.
11:32am EST - President George W. Bush is introduced to applause and cheers from the crowd, as 'Hail to the Chief' is played for him for the last time. He is accompanied by Vice-President Dick Cheney, who was pushed in on a wheelchair after pulling a muscle in his back. Twitter users are reporting lots of boo-ing for Bush.
11:27am EST - Michelle Obama and Jill biden are introduced following after first lady Nancy Bush.
11:18am EST - Former President George H. Bush and his wife Barbara were introduced, followed by other former presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. George W. Bush should be following shortly.
11:05 EST - Barack and Michelle Obama arrive at the Capitol along with Bush, Cheney, Biden and many others. Style watchers have spotted that Michelle Obama is wearing an Isabel Toledo dress.
10:51am EST - Obama and Bush finished having coffee and left in separate limos as they head to the ceremony at the Mall. Vice-President Dick Cheney was seen being wheeled out to his limo in a wheelchair, after he pulled a back muscle yesterday.
Vice President Dick Cheney pulled a muscle in his back while moving boxes and will be in a wheelchair for Tuesday's inauguration ceremony.
10:20am EST - Reports are coming in that a 68-year-old passenger was struck by a train, the Gallery Place/Chinatown metro station is closed temporarily while they investigate. She apparently has minor injuries.
10:02am EST - Hillary Clinton was due to be confirmed as Secretary of State today, but it looks like the efforts of a lone Republican senator, John Cornyn, who asked for more oversight on her husband's foundation, will prevent that.
Hillary Clinton has rejected a request by Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) to increase oversight of her husband's foundation -- so Cornyn is expected to scuttle Democratic attempts to confirm her as Secretary of State today by a voice vote, sources say.
9:50am EST - Barack and Michelle Obama leave St. John's church after their private service to roaring cheers and shouts of 'We love you!'. The Obamas returned to their limo and headed to the white house for coffee with President George W. Bush.
9:41am EST - It's reported that a few thousands people may be trapped in L'enfant Plaza station, and even the exit-only entrances are closed. Trains are going right by. The barrier at 6th and D is down and thousands are streaming in.
9:30am EST - The Red Cross has received reports of missing people (hopefully just in the crowd) and hypothermia. Less important, the wait for bathrooms is at least an hour long.
9:17am EST - More reports that trains are in holding patterns or just stopped, so far we have reports that L'enfant Plaza, Mt Vernon Square and Archives stops are closed.
9:00am EST - Twitterers are quoting the Metro as saying trains aren't stopping at L'enfant plaza and routes are terminating at Gallery Place.
Some twitter nerds are pointing out that the #inaug09 tag on twitter is getting about 30 posts per minute.
8:49 am EST - News feeds had their cameras trained on Blair House, the guest house the Obamas have been staying. The Obamas just left for the traditional morning prayer service before the inauguration. Obama had a big smile as he climbed into the armored limo next to his wife Michelle.
There has been much discussion on whether cell phone signals and internet connections would stand up to the thousands of extra users, already there's a tweet that phones and internet are down at the mall. Some have voice but no data service.
8:00am EST - Security gates opened a little early for ticket-holders, numerous people on twitter are reporting that the crowd is chanting 'yes we can'. I have goosebumps and I'm thousands of miles away:
7:21am EST - We're already seeing some small issues on twitter, though for the most part things seem calm. Apparently there is no crowd control for the long lines leading into the mall, and people are cutting in.
I am more than a little scared. There is no croud control for the lines. People. Are just cutting across lines.
7:15am EST - Hundreds of Busses carrying thousands of people are arriving in a steady stream in Washington this morning. Some people arrived as early as 4am to get good seats, despite the chilly weather.
With two million people expected, officials said anyone without a ticket should try to be at the mall by 7:30 est. So you've still got 15 minutes!
The two buses from Washington Metropolitan AME Zion Church rolled into D.C. at 6 a.m. and found out that hundreds of buses from around the country were already at RFK Stadium, the official parking spot for buses carrying people to today’s inauguration
Schedule of Events
8 a.m. ETSecurity checkpoints on the west front of the U.S. Capitol open for guests with tickets.
10 a.m. ET Musical prelude featuring the United States Marine Band, the San Francisco Boys Chorus and the San Francisco Girls Chorus.
11:30 a.m. ET Obama announced at the Capitol's west front.
11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. ET Inauguration ceremony:
NowPublic members have already been writing stories about Obama's inauguration, Rumana Husain congratulated America:
In the words of Elizabeth Alexander ('The Song of Praise' she read out minutes ago), it is words with which we communicate.
NP member artezworks writes about how not just anyone can become president, and the character it took for Obama to win:
Not everyone can become a great president. Great presidents are made great by horrible circumstances combined with character, temperament and intelligence.
NP'er Solarlife wrote about Obama's promises to bring more technology into the fold of US life:
Obama is now the president of the United States. His first speech: We Repair bridges. We will build Digital lines electrical Grids.
For some, this day not only represents a transfer of leadership and the turning of a new leaf for American people, but a fresh perspective on fashion thanks to Michelle Obama, a worldwide style icon.
Elizabeth Alexander read a poem she had composed for Barack Obama and his Inauguration Day today. It's called 'On This Day'.
Two million people have descended on Washington DC for the Inauguration of Barack Obama, and the crowds have clogged the mass transit lines and security checkpoints as they try to get a spot to witness a moment in history.
But despite shifting technological sands, Barack Obama and his team have proven masterful in their ability to engage the American (and arguably world's) population online.
Fellow NowPublic staffer Jarret Martineau has compiled a great list of ways to watch the inauguration, from facebook to full video streaming:
NowPublic is assembling ongoing coverage, liveblogging, photos, and live video of the events at our special news coverage page of the Obama Inauguration, however, there are many ways follow the festivities. Here are some of the best.
See more NowPublic.com member stories here: