National Park Service Prepares to Host Millions of Visitors for the Presidential Inauguration and Parade

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The National Park Service, working directly with the Presidential Inauguration Committee, is making elaborate preparations to host what may very well be the biggest crowd ever to gather in Washington, D.C.

On January 20 as many as four million people are expected to descend on the National Mall & Memorial Parks to witness Barack Obama's inauguration as the 44th President of the United States. Hordes of spectators will cram the National Mall to witness the swearing-in ceremony that will take place on the steps of the U.S. Capitol. Vast numbers will line Pennsylvania Avenue to see the ensuing Inaugural Parade, an event that moves the new president, physically and symbolically, from the Capitol, home of the legislative branch of the federal government, to the White House, home of the executive branch.

Having huge numbers of Americans and people from all over the world personally witness the peaceful transition of power in the world's most important democracy is a proud tradition. However, it is also a gargantuan logistical headache for the National Park Service. If the projections of three-four million visitors prove accurate, the crowds will dwarf the previous largest events in the history of the National Mall by three or four times. And no matter the size of the crowd, a huge amount of work will have been done before, during, and after the event by National Mall & Memorial Parks and the Park Police.

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