Throngs witness Obama tour to D.C.

Throngs witness Obama tour to D.C.
January 18, 2009 9:18:36 AM PST
The excitement is building in Washington Sunday, where the president-elect was set to get off to a somewhat later start for his pre-inauguration activities. Barack Obama was expected to make a stop in the afternoon at Arlington National Cemetery to lay a wreath. Afterwards, he is expected to go to the Lincoln Memorial for a free public concert, for which members of the audience have already begun getting into position. Among those set to perform are Stevie Wonder, Beyonce, Stevie Nicks and many others.

Mr. Obama will make brief appearance to the crowd, which could get up to a 100,000 people. It'll be a good pre-inauguration test see how a large crowd of people will hold up outside in the Washington cold.

Before arriving in Washington, D.C., President-elect Barack Obama spoke to a crowd of 40,000 people Saturday in Baltimore, which was one of the stops on his train trip to D.C. ahead of his inauguration as the 44th president of the United States.

The anticipation was growing by the hour in Washington as the so-called 'Obama Express' headed to in that direction and arrived Saturday night.

Aboard the train, Obama was retracing the same route that Abraham Lincoln took back in 1861 when he was inaugurated as the president. It was called the Whistle Stop Tour and began in Philadelphia and headed east to Delaware, where Obama, vice president-elect Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, joined Barack and Michelle Obama.

People gathered along the railroad tracks and waved to the future first family along the route.

Once in Baltimore, Mr. Obama spoke to a crowd of hundreds, including many children, which braved the bitter cold to hear him speak a few days before he officially becomes the president of the United States.

"What's required is a new Declaration of Independence; not just in our nation, but in our own lives and our own hearts, from ideology and small thinking, from prejudice and bigotry, from selfishness and narrow interest, an appeal not to our easy instincts but to our better angels," President-elect Obama said to the crowd.

After arriving in Washington Saturday night, Obama was scheduled to attend a private reception with some of his members of the finance committee and some of his big donors. He was also expected to celebrate with his wife because Saturday is her 45th birthday.

Chicago area voters visit inauguration site ahead of ceremony

On election night, Obama used the word "we" 47 times in his acceptance speech because, he says, he wanted to acknowledge all of those that supported his campaign. While spending some time Saturday in the Washington National Mall on the Capitol Hill steps where, Tuesday, the president-elect will be officially sworn in, the ABC7 News team in Washington found many of those supporters. Among them was a woman who dedicated her mission to making sure Barack Obama's dream came true.

"I am feeling pride, happiness, joy. I am elated," said Christina Crawford, who was using a camera to record history in the making at the place where Obama would be inaugurated as the nation's first African-American president.

For Crawford, the ceremony is the culmination of a journey that began six years ago.

"I volunteered on the Senate campaign. This is when nobody knew who he was. We were knocking on doors and getting signs up, and from that I saw something about him, and I knew that he would be successful. So, that was from the grass roots to now, the White House. It was a wonderful experience," she said.

Another Chicago area woman speaking to ABC7 traveled to Washington to share this special moment with a friend and to take a part of history back to her second grade glass in the Chicago suburb of Palatine.

"I think it is an amazing time in history for all of us to be part of this as young voters and all of the things that will come," said Karrin Musich.

That message seems to resonate no matter what age. Every day Americans have been inspired by what has already been becoming and the possibilities of what can be.

"Being from Chicago, it means a lot to us that a president comes from Chicago and he is African-American," Anthony Burton told ABC7 Chicago.

Although there were no official events Saturday, people wanted in the Mall area to take in the moment.

"It is exciting to see all of the people doing this. It means a lot to be here," said Burton.