Idahoans joined hundreds of thousands of Americans gathered on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., earlier today to watch President Barack Obama take the oath of office for his second term.
The crowd was estimated to have been much smaller today than it was for Obama's first inaugural ceremony in 2009, but around 10 a.m. this morning, the official 57th Presidential Inauguration app sent out a notification that parts of the mall were closed to those without tickets after reaching capacity. Those who were unable to get into the mall, where giant television screens and speakers displayed the ceremony for attendees, shuffled into the "overflow" area near the Washington Monument.
The Washington Post reports that Metro, the D.C. area's subway system, estimated usage at only 60 percent of 2009 numbers. However, at least one Metro station—L'Enfant Plaza just south of the mall—was so overwhelmed by crowds that it opened turnstiles to more swiftly move people out of the station.
At least one Idahoan had a great view of today's ceremonies. Conor Hilton, an Idaho Falls native and BYU student, attended the inauguration with his childhood friend and roommate Dylan Ellsworth. The two were among those who received tickets from Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo's office.
Of the ceremony, Hilton said:
"There was a special power added to hearing the president in person, surrounded by hundreds of thousands of people, who share his vision for America. Obama's call for unity and a reminder that his duty is to God and the United States, not any political party or faction. I was moved by the unity and diversity on my every side—illustrating what happens when people share a vision for the future, inspired by faith. It was incredible. Unforgettable."
Additionally, Garden Valley resident and small business owner Greg Simione was on the National Mall Monday to witness the inauguration with his business partner Gerold Dennett. Simione told Boise Weekly:
"It was exhilarating to see and feel the process. Our view was not the best but as we waited the energy grew and grew and that made the trip worthwhile. [There was] lots of cheering, lots of smiles and even tears of joy. Most impressive was the number of children. We are exhausted yet so happy we made the trip."