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President Barack Obama gives his inaugural address during his inauguration as the 44th President of the United States of America on the West Front of the Capitol Jan. 20, 2009 in Washington, DC.
Southern Californians are making the long trip across the country to be part of the 600,000 people expected to attend Obama's inauguration ceremonies Monday. They'll brace D.C.'s chilly January weather to watch Obama's second swearing-in ceremony at 11:30 a.m., followed by the official Presidential Inauguration Parade at 2:30 p.m. If they're lucky, they'll be able to attend one of the many black-tie inaugural balls and galas on Monday evening.
Twenty-seven year-old Kevin Lê is an Orange County resident who was able to score tickets to the special seating section at the swearing-in ceremony. Congressional representatives from all over the county were assigned a limited number of tickets that they gave away for free.
Lê started hunting for ways to attend the ceremony the moment President Obama's victory was announced back in November. He was able to score some tickets from California Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, and even got a pass to an Inauguration Ball at the Washington Convention Center.
"Oh my goodness. I just feel very honored, really, and excited; just a ton of different emotions," Lê said. "This is history in the making and I couldn’t miss it, at all. I just hope he says something that’ll be empowering and brings the nation together. This should be a feel-good moment.”
Even with people flying in all the way from Southern California, the crowds are expected to be thinner than four years ago, when more than 1.8 million people flocked to Washington to watch the first African-American president take the oath of office in 2009. But the president's inaugural committee decided to scale the festivities back, even reducing the events from four to three days.
The swearing-in ceremony also coincides with Martin Luther King Day. Usually, Inauguration Day is on January 20th, but officials pushed it one day ahead since it landed on a Sunday.