Eager Crowds Swarm Before Dawn

Rush hour at 4:30am; thousands flood mall
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jan 20, 2009 7:04 AM CST
Crowds gather early on the National Mall for the swearing-in ceremony for President-elect Barack Obama in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009.   (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
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(Newser) – As late night became early morning in Washington, eager crowds were already forming outside Metro stops, the Washington Post reports. By 4:30am, some trains were reminiscent of rush hour; by 5:30, the line outside one station was 2 miles long. Meanwhile, thousands poured into the Mall, bundled into sleeping bags in the 20-degree chill.

“We've got co-workers that can't even get into work, calling in saying they're going to be late. They're calling in all hands on deck,” said a Metro worker. But people were jovial as they gathered, yelling “Yes we can” as they huddled to squeeze more people onto trains. When one woman departed the train for her job, others chanted “Skip work! Skip work! Obama! Obama!” “Thank you for your patience," said a driver during a delay. "It will be worth it."