President Barack Obama began his second term on Sunday, taking the official oath of office at 11:55 a.m. during a private ceremony in the East Room of the White House. On Monday at noon, Obama will stand outside the Capitol, place his left hand on Bibles used by Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr. and take the ceremonial oath of office. While the historic event is taking place in Washington, DC, plenty of people from the area will be there to witness it.
DC Metro Police called on forces from all over the country to support their security efforts during the inauguration, including 75 Philadelphia Police officers who will represent the city of brotherly love. On Sunday they patrolled the parade route.
“It’s a great privilege for all of us,” said Philadelphia Police Captain Mike Murphy. “First of all, to be picked by Commissioner Ramsey and then just the event itself and being here for the President’s inauguration.”
Lieutenant Laverne Vann, of Philadelphia’s 24th District, was on duty in Washington during the inauguration four years ago. She describes the experience as patriotism at its best.
“I was really excited and I wanted to come back to the process a second time,” said Lieutenant Vann. “Everyone was getting along. It was a lot of togetherness. That was the best part.”
As police are preparing, so are the parade organizers. Floats from Pennsylvania and Delaware signify the birthplace and home state of Vice President Joe Biden. Illinois and Hawaii have a prominent position in the line of march as well.
“We also have four thematic floats which kind of represent not only how the President views America but also what we feel embodies the spirit, the traditions and the diversity of our country,” said Addie Whisenant of the Presidential Inaugural Committee.
Philadelphia Police won’t be doing much sight-seeing. They insist they are in DC as officers, not spectators.
“We’re going to participate in the excitement as much as we can but again, we’re here to work,” said Captain Murphy. “Unfortunately we won’t be able to watch the parade. We’ll be watching the crowd.”
Several people from the area will be watching the parade however. Sam Jennings, of Narberth, joined a long line of bus riders bound for DC. They’ll arrive in plenty time for Monday’s inauguration.
“I support President Obama and I think it’s great that he’s reelected,” said Jennings.
“I voted for President Obama and I want to be there for the second term,” said Juanita Thompson of Mount Airy.
Obama supporters of all ages boarded the buses and trains on Sunday at 30th Street station. With DC such a popular destination this weekend, some travelers had to get creative with the cost. Vinia Abdul-Salaam and Alicia Holland flew to Philadelphia from North Carolina only to get on a bus headed south to DC.
“I wanted to be a part of history,” said Abdul-Salaam. “We missed the first one and this is a chance to be among millions of people to witness him getting sworn in.”
“We would love to be in the front row but we’re going to be among millions,” said Holland. “The hotel is about three blocks away.”