D.C. swarmed for "We Are One" Concert

Inauguration festivities began in earnest this afternoon as, Bono, Garth Brooks, Sheryl Crow, Renee Fleming, Josh Groban, Herbie Hancock, Heather Headley, John Legend, Jennifer Nettles, John Mellencamp, Usher Raymond IV, Shakira, Bruce Springsteen, James Taylor, Will.I.Am and Stevie Wonder in front of the Lincoln Memorial.

Celebrities Denzel Washington, Ashley Judd, Tom Hanks, Jack Black, Steve Carrell, Jamie Foxx, Kal Penn, Queen Latifah, Samuel L. Jackson, and Tiger Woods were also on hand to salute President and Vice President-elect Barack Obama and Joe Biden, who were in attendance with their families. The speakers repeatedly harked back to the historic presidencies of Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, and John F. Kennedy, perhaps to hammer home the significance of the moment.

Obama, at the end of the event, kept his address to supporters short and sweet, both acknowledging the difficulty of the challenges lying ahead and the need for national unity to weather the storm.

"Only a handful of generations have been asked to confront challenges as serious as the ones we face right now," Obama said. "Our nation is at war, our economy is in crisis millions of Americans are losing their jobs and their homes. ... they are anxious and uncertain about the future, about whether this generation of Americans will be able to pass on what's best about this country to our children and their children."

As usual, fanfare greeted the celebrations with peddlers hawking all Obama-related paraphenelia imaginable-- from T-shirts to buttons to boxer shorts. The Capitol Building has been decked out for the big day, the Mall encompassed by a media circus and dotted with jumbatrons, and security stationed at almost every block.

Check back to After the Jump for continuing coverage of the 56th presidential inauguration.


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