In the News
Aretha to Sing, Almost 20,000 to Protect During Obama Inauguration
Details abound in planning for historic event
-Julie Ryan Evans
It was an historic election no doubt, and the upcoming January 20 Inauguration of Barack Obama is shaping up to go down in the history books as well.
It’s estimated that an unprecedented 4 million people could converge on our nation’s capital to be a part of the events. The most to ever previously attend an inauguration was 1.2 million in 1965 when Lyndon B. Johnson took office.
Oprah has been planning what to wear for months now, and thousands of others are planning every other little detail to pull the whole thing off.
The just-released entertainment lineup is made up of legendary greats like the Queen of Soul herself, Aretha Franklin, as well as cellist Yo-Yo Ma and violinist Itzhak Perlman, the San Francisco Boys Chorus and the San Francisco Girls Chorus. Elizabeth Alexander will share one of her poems, and controversial pastor Rick Warren of The Purpose-Driven Life fame will deliver the invocation.
While rumors abound as to who will attend, it’s sure to be a star-studded event. Those said to be attending include: Anne Hathaway, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins, Marcia Cross, Seal, Adrian Grenier, Will and Jada Pinket Smith and Ashley Judd. Others rumored to perform at Inauguration festivities include Seal, Shakira, Cyndi Lauper, Melissa Etheridge, Beyonce, Diddy and Mary J. Blige. Heck, even Nickelodeon is planning Inauguration coverage for the first time ever.
While festive in nature, there will be serious security in place. In preparations that are reminiscent of New Year’s Even 1999 and then some, about 11,000 U.S. National Guard and military troops and 8,000 police and security agents from D.C. and across the United States and on hand to protect the president and control the crowd.
According the Associated Press, Gen. Gene Renaurt said they are working under the assumption that terrorists may try to plan some kind of attack during the ceremony. “So it’s prudent for us to plan for the possibility of that kind of event, and to be prepared either to deter it or to respond to it,” he said.
And then there are the basic logistics – like where to park the expected 10,000 tour buses, that if parked end-to-end would cover 85 MILES.
And what will happen to cell phone service as attendees try to send pictures and texts and call relatives from the event? CNN reports there could be major logjams and states that, “Sprint and Verizon are two wireless carriers in the D.C.-metro area spending millions of dollars to add capacity to their cell sites ahead of Obama’s inauguration.”
I don’t even want to think about things like providing food, water and port-a-potties for the masses. But I’m sure someone is …