Despite Temps, Chilly Parade Worth the Wait

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President Barack Obama's inaugural parade down Pennsylvania Avenue was a chilly one, but for the thousands who braved the cold, it was a celebration to remember.

Surrounded by security, Obama and his wife, Michelle, stepped out of their limousine about 30 minutes into the parade route, along with the Bidens, and a second time some 30 minutes later.

"He's the people's president," 68-year-old Patricia Correia of Lancaster, Calif., said.  "He would not be the type to sit here in the car. He knows that we waited out here this long."

Click play for comments from CBN News Sr. National Correspondent David Brody on the events surrounding President Obama's inauguration.

Presidents in the past have also gotten out to greet, though the appearance is usually brief for security reasons.

The Obamas walked and waved for about 7 minutes each time, while Vice President Joe Biden stayed out much longer.

Later, the new first family made a brief stop at the White House, before entering a reviewing stand to watch the rest of the parade. 

Freezing Temps, Hours-long Route

At the start of the parade, temperatures had dropped to 27 degrees. 

Still, spectators gathered 10 rows deep in blankets and parkas, waiting on the President to cross their path.

"I came because it's about us making history," Latori Brown, a 21-year-old black woman from Sumter, S.C., who'd been waiting since dawn, said. "I'm not worried about the cold. It's worth it."

The route was only 1.7 miles long, but with about 13,000 people participating in the parade, it took more than three hours to complete.

Honoring Those Who Paved the Way

Tuesday's parade paid homage to those who lead the way for Obama to become America's first black president.

Survivng members of the Tuskeegee Airmen and Freedom Riders, two memorable African-Amercian groups that fought for civil rights, followed the President's motorcade on the route.

Re-enactors from a black Civil War regiment and several bands from historically black colleges and universities also marched in the parade.

Parade Area Overflows

The area surrounding Tuesday's inauguration parade route reached its maximum capacity hours before the bands and floats were set to make the march.

President Obama's motorcade led off the parade down Pennsylvania Avenue around 3:30 p.m.  The event ended in front of the White House around 7 p.m.

Entrances at 13th and E streets were reported closed around noon. People had began arriving in the area as early as 7 a.m., officials said.

Secret Service only planned for about 300,000 to 350,000 people to be allowed into the area. More than 1 million people gathered at the National Mall to see President Barack Obama sworn in.

Bands, Performers get Early Start

Many of the bands participating in the inauguration parade were from out of state, which meant a long weekend of travel before Washington, D.C. shut down.

Florida A&M University's 400-plus member marching band left for the city Sunday. Because they stayed in Maryland, Tuesday's parade prompted a 1 a.m. wake up call.

The band's nine buses and equipment truck were detoured several times, due to security and crowd adjustments in Washington.

All the bands and performers invited were situated on a field between the White House and Washington Monument Tuesday morning. They watched the inauguration ceremony on screens set up in heated tents.

Others in the parade included representatives from the United States military, Special Olympics Inc., and marching bands from the Obamas' highschools.

Sources: The Associated Press, WCTV

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