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Preparations in full swing for Obama's presidential inauguration
Celebratory preparations are in full swing for Monday, January 21, when Barack Obama will officially start his second term as the President of America. The dress rehearsal, which sees a stand-in-double of the President, is one of the final steps to the ceremonial kickoff to the President's second term in office.

The Presidential inaugurations are key events in US history. Four years ago nearly 2 million people crowded the national mall area to hear the words of their first African-American President.

This year and day, which coincides with Martin Luther King day, fewer than a million people are expected but it will still be a crowded celebration. After the swearing in, Washington DC will become a parade route with the President and the first lady heading down Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House followed by a long ensemble of soldiers, citizens and marching bands.

All of them are practicing to make Monday perfect. Colonel Bill Knight, Commander, 11th Wing of the US Air Force talked about the celebrations to AFP, “It is a huge day. This goes back to the very founding of our country and it's just an honour to be part of the military element that is going to help a peaceful transition of democracy, right here in the United States of America.”

The inaugural bash ends with gala evening events. Four years ago there were countless official balls with countless unofficial ones to satisfy all the merry makers. This year just a few gala balls will suffice befitting a second term or perhaps a less festive mood in Washington. The 47-year-old Obama opened his first term with a call for 'Unity of purpose' but now at 51, he is likely to sound a different note on Monday as he has met some major challenges in his first term as President.

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