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By GateHouse News Service
President Barack Obama took the official oath of office today in a private ceremony Sunday at the White House before Monday's ceremony in front of thousands in Washington. Here's a few news and notes about the final preparations.
Day of service
From sprucing up hiking trails to painting schools, Americans across the country, including President Barack Obama and his family, took part in a national day of service on Saturday to help kick off presidential inauguration ceremonies.
Day of gridlock?
As President Barack Obama is sworn in for his second inauguration Monday, cellphone providers in Washington D.C. are preparing for major gridlock. Everyone attending the inauguration will want to capture a photograph of Obama and the ceremony as it happens. Cell phone providers are preparing for those coming with cell phones and camera.
The official theme for the 57th presidential inauguration is "Faith in America's Future." It commemorates the United States' perseverance and marks the 150th anniversary of the placement of the Statue of Freedom atop the U.S. Capitol dome.
Latest video coverage of the inauguration
In 2009, about 1.8 million people poured onto the Mall to witness the first African-American president sworn into office. This time, District of Columbia officials estimate that 600,000 to 800,000 people will attend. George W. Bush's second inauguration attracted between 300,000 and 400,000 people. Bill Clinton's likely drew around 450,000.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Obama's inauguration Monday coincides with the national holiday celebrating the birthday of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. The inauguration has occurred one other time on the King holiday: President Bill Clinton's second inauguration, Jan. 20, 1997.
After the swearing-in ceremony and inaugural address, the president, vice president and guests will attend the inaugural luncheon inside the Capitol's Statuary Hall. The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies is the host.
The inaugural parade, with members from all branches of the military, marches down Pennsylvania Avenue NW from the Capitol to the White House, starting at 2 p.m. It will feature eight floats, made by a company that has been building presidential floats since the 1949 inauguration of Harry S. Truman.
This year Obama announced the number of inaugural balls would be reduced to just two official parties in an effort to reduce government spending.