Inauguration construction, planning under way

Andrew Mollenbeck,

WASHINGTON – The platform is taking shape on the Capitol’s west front, and voters have now decided who will stand on it to take the oath of office in late January.

Planning for Inauguration Day will intensify during the next two months with meetings to discuss crowd control and even to determine where to locate children separated from their parents.

“They have it down to a science,” says Carol Johnson, spokeswoman for the National Park Service. “We have a team that puts it together, does all the logistical planning.”

Four years ago, the crowd size at the inauguration was the largest ever on the National Mall. Johnson has no estimate yet for January’s ceremony. But each inauguration benefits from lessons learned in the past.

“We think we can probably improve communications a little bit in terms of letting the public know where there are bottlenecks and so forth,” she says.

Because Jan. 20 falls on a Sunday next year, the public ceremony will be pushed back to Jan. 21.

That date adds an additional element of symbolism to the second inauguration of the nation’s first black president. Obama’s second term begins on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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