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Capital Comment Blog > Inauguration 2009

National Mall to be Open to the Masses for Inauguration

For the first time in history, the entire length of the National Mall will be open on Inauguration Day.

Photo by Flickr user NCinDC 

In an effort to accommodate the millions expected to be in town for the inauguration, the entire length of the National Mall will be open to the public for the swearing-in ceremony, the Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC) announced today. This is the first time in history that such a measure has been mandated.

JumboTron screens and audio systems will be placed at points throughout the Mall to allow viewing and sound for people far from the live action. Crowds standing near the Lincoln Memorial will be more than two miles from the Capitol building.

In past inaugurations, staging for the inaugural parade has prevented the entire Mall from being open to the public. The grass between Seventh and 14th Streets, Northwest, has usually been off-limits.

The PIC worked with the DC government, National Park Service, and others to make the space available. According to the PIC, the arrangement is part of the its commitment to “make the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama one of the most open and accessible in history.”

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