Inauguration of President Barack Obama in 2013

Key Points

  • Barack Obama is publicly sworn in for his second term as US president
  • Hundreds of thousands throng Washington DC for Monday's public events
  • The Obamas and the Bidens participate in an inaugural parade. All times GMT (EST +5)

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    Welcome to our live coverage of the public inauguration of Barack Obama as president of the United States. We will be bringing you live updates and analysis from the BBC's correspondents in Washington DC and beyond, streaming live video of the ceremonies, updating with the best of the comment on blogs and social networks, or sent to us via email, and also taking in the best pictures of the day.


    Not as many people are expected to attend as the 1.8 million who came to Mr Obama's inauguration for his first term, reports the BBC's Laura Trevelyan - who is already on the scene in Washington as dawn breaks - but hundreds of thousands nonetheless.

    Capitol Hill. Photo: Alison Pease

    Alison Pease tweeted this photo of her position at the inauguration.


    The inauguration has already been touched by controversy after rapper Lupe Fiasco criticised President Obama's stance on Israel's recent bombardment of Gaza as he performed at an inauguration party on Sunday night. He was eventually escorted from the stage. You can read more at Politico.


    The BBC's Suzanne Kianpour tweets: Lovely sunrise over #inaug2013. we're live w/ @BBCJonSopel on the Newseum rooftop. Yes it's cold @bbcworld


    tweets: Up at 6:30am for the day's festivities. Judging by reports, I should've been at the Mall by now. #crowds #inaug2013

    US TV programme, Good Morning America

    tweets: Barack Obama will be sworn in on two Bibles, one used by Martin Luther King, Jr., one by President Lincoln #Inaug2013


    Mr Obama won a second term in office in November more comfortably than many expected, taking 332 electoral college votes to defeat Republican Mitt Romney - well past the 270 he needed. But the popular vote was close and the Republicans retained control of the House of Representatives. Mr Obama leads a divided nation and is likely to face a tough task if he tackles contentious issues over the next four years.


    As dawn breaks, crowds are already gathering in front of the Washington Monument, with over three hours to go until the inauguration.

    Crowds gather in front of the Washington Monument ahead of Barack Obama's inauguration for his second term as US president
    Malinda Love

    tweets: A wonderful day to celebrate American History! Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day & Happy Inauguration Day! #Celebrate #MLKDay #Inauguration


    In his first term, Barack Obama secured healthcare reform and faced the task of righting the US economy after the crash of 2008. His second term starts with gun control and fiscal reform high on the agenda. The Washington Post looks at what the next four years might hold.


    The New York Times has collated the views of a selection of residents of Washington DC on what President Obama should do in his second term.

    Former senior advisor to President Obama, David Axelrod

    tweets: Inspiring to see people streaming to the Capitol on this brisk, sunny Inaugural, as Americans have done for generations.

    1307: Mark Mardell BBC North America editor

    assesses Mr Obama's newly combative stance as he faces his next four years in office - a stark contrast to his hopes of proclaiming "unity of purpose over conflict and discord" that he enunciated at his first inauguration.

    Anthony Lopez

    tweets: Why are we wasting millions of $$ because the same guy is simply sworn in again? And we wonder why this country's debt is high? #inaug2013


    Monday's public inauguration comes the day after Barack Obama's official swearing-in at a small ceremony with his family at the White House, to fill a constitutional requirement that the next president must be inaugurated before noon on 20 January.

    First Lady Michelle Obama held a Bible used by her family for many years, and Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts read out the oath of office.

    U.S President Barack Obama (L) takes the oath of office from US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts (R) as First Lady Michelle Obama holds the Bible and daughters Malia and Sasha look on in the Blue Room of the White House on Sunday in Washington DC

    This year the festivities are going to be more modest than Mr Obama's first inauguration in 2008 - in recognition of the austerity of the times.

    The public inauguration is scheduled to take place just before noon on Monday (1600 GMT), and will be followed by an inauguration address. Mr Obama is expected to lay out his vision for his second term, but is unlikely to make any specific policy proposals.

    BBC News US

    tweets: How long did it take you to get to #Inaug2013? BBC's @MattDanzico joined a bus ride from the deep south


    Mr Obama will use his address to communicate that "we're going to move beyond what has paralysed this town for so long", the Associated Press quotes senior Obama adviser Robert Gibbs as saying. Mr Obama wants members of both parties to "lay aside their partisanship" to solve protracted problems like budget, taxes and spending, gun violence, and immigration, Mr Gibbs said.


    The Obama family is just walking into Washington DC's St John's Episcopal Church - the so-called church of presidents - for a service ahead of his inauguration.


    Preparations for the inauguration have been under way in Washington for weeks - Pennsylvania Avenue has been repaved, spectator stands have been erected, and giant TV screens are in place along the National Mall. Roads have been closed and others have been cleared so the inaugural parade can move through the city later in the day.

    The BBC's Luis Velarde

    tweets: Volunteers making a welcome guard of honor for tourists on the National Mall

    The Washington Post's

    Capital Weather Gang tweets: Of historic inaugurations, today's may most resemble Clinton's 2nd weatherwise, when swearing-in temp was 40. (40F = 4C)

    Marie Therese Hayes from Helensburgh, Scotland

    emails: I have flown over from Scotland to Washington DC for the inauguration. I am staying with some friends and I am so excited. I wanted to come four years ago but never made it. So glad I managed it this time around.

    Joe Clarke in Marysville, Ohio

    emails: Truly a sad event. More soldiers have lost their lives to suicide during his administration than any other president and the 10 trillion he added to the national debt are not exactly the right credentials for his re-election.


    Here is an image of the first lady and president as they arrived at St John's Episcopal Church for a service in the last hour.

    US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama arrive at St John's Church in Washington DC on Monday

    Mr Obama's vice-president, Joe Biden, is also going to be sworn in Monday. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor will read his oath of office.

    After the oaths have been taken, Kelly Clarkson will perform and Beyonce is going to sing the national anthem.

    1406: BBC News US

    tweets: Here is today's #Inaug2013 forecast for Washington, DC from our colleagues @bbcweather


    It's been a glorious morning in Washington DC:

    People wave American flags as people gather near the US Capitol building on the National Mall for the Inauguration ceremony in Washington DC on Monday

    This is the 57th presidential inauguration and the 17th time a president has been inaugurated for the second time.


    Colin Powell - who broke with his Republican Party to endorse Barack Obama in 2008 - tells the BBC's Katty Kay that Mr Obama has done a good job so far. "My Republican friends have to understand that they need to take a look at the party and what it's been doing in recent years... It has to shift to the centre because that's where the American people are."

    Arnie Seipel, NPR

    tweets: Panoramic view from the Capitol, down the mall. #inaug2013


    In terms of what a second Obama presidency means for Pakistan, Jan Achakzai, the leader of Pakistani right-wing political party Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, tells BBC Urdu: "As long as the Americans are in Afghanistan, which is over the next two years, there won't be any major change in US policy towards Pakistan."


    Mr Achakzai continues: "Afterwards, American and Western countries may increase pressure on Pakistan in certain areas about which they have some concerns. First there are Pakistan's nuclear weapons, second terrorism and third is the human rights situation. These are the three areas about which Americans can arm-twist Pakistan. But this will happen only after America reduces its [involvement] in Afghanistan."

    1443: David Botti BBC News, Washington

    Early in the day in Arlington, Virginia, members of a LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] marching band prepared to march in the inauguration parade.

    Mr Obama's first inauguration in 2009 was the first time an openly gay group marched in the parade. This year, the musicians say, the day is less about Mr Obama's historic presidency and more about how he represents the inclusion of diverse groups throughout country.

    1447: David Botti BBC News, Washington

    The Metro from Virginia was already filled to capacity even before crossing into the capital:

    Passengers on the Metro on presidential inauguration day on Monday

    Badges, Beyonce... and Barack Obama. The BBC's Ben Wright takes a look at DC last night ahead of Monday's inauguration celebrations.


    Barack Obama is back at the White House after attending a church service. Only two hours to go...


    First Lady Michelle Obama, who will hold the Bible for her husband as he takes the oath of office, is wearing a navy blue coat and dress designed by Thom Browne. The material is reportedly inspired by a man's silk tie. Her outfit and accessories will be sent to the National Archives and preserved for posterity.

    Eric Cantor, Republican House of Representatives majority leader

    tweets: Headed to the @WhiteHouse with my wife Diana for coffee with the President, Vice President and their lovely wives

    Kate Dailey BBC News Magazine

    tweets: Obama leaves St Johns as the crowd jostles to get a good view. #inaug2013


    A few dozen protesters are gathered along the Inauguration Day parade route on Pennsylvania Avenue, invoking the late civil rights leader Martin Luther King's legacy and urging "jobs, not war". (It is Martin Luther King day, a public holiday.)

    Kaitlin Rattigan

    tweets: @BarackObama is still a symbol of hope. Not all great leaders are appreciated during their time #Inaug2013


    Everton Severino tells BBC Brasil: "I trust the US will have a stable and closer relation with Brazil, they'll play the 'good guys', in order to shift the focus from the American domestic crisis. The bureaucracy Brazilians face getting through customs is likely to be changed, so that more Brazilian consumers can spend in the US.''

    Laura Trevelyan BBC News, New York

    tweets: #inauguration Mall is a seething mass of humanity as hundreds of thousands turn out to witness inauguration


    They may not be turning out in the same numbers as in 2008, but some of Mr Obama's fans are just as ardent:

    Rickita Glass (L), Kelly Grimes and others gather near the US Capitol building on the National Mall for the Monday's inauguration ceremony

    Politicians and other dignitaries are taking their seats on the steps of Congress, to watch the president as he is sworn into office and gives his second inauguration address. House Speaker John Boehner and Senator John Kerry are spotted in the crowd.


    As the stands fill up, the motorcade bringing President Obama and Vice-President Joe Biden leaves the White House for the Capitol.

    Jay Redd Nagbe Jr in Liberia

    emails: What a wonderful event to watch. I wish the president and people of the United States a happy inaugural day. The president now has a challenge. The world is watching this great man of our time.


    It's a chilly day in DC as the convoy moves down the route cleared for the inaugural parade later in the day. The streets are lined with security, and stands full of people are cheering and waving flags.


    Mr Obama is walking into the crypt of the Capitol now. We can see him shaking the hand of Nancy Pelosi, the leader of the Democrats in the House of Representatives. Meanwhile, the National Mall is a sea of people with countless small flags.


    Up on the terraces outside Congress the national colours are now being presented as trumpets play.

    Alan Hanson
    Photo: Alan Hanson

    tweets: Big festive crowd on the mall. #inaug2013 #wamuinaug


    Former US presidents are in attendance today. Former Democratic President Jimmy Carter, with his wife Rosalynn are introduced, before Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary - the current US Secretary of State - enter to a loud cheer.

    Simon Moore-Crouch

    tweets: Standing in crush of people on Penn Ave trying to cross to Mall. Place goes nuts as Obamas motorcade cruises past towards Capitol #inaug2013


    Giant screens have been erected on either side of the National Mall so that the thousands of people gathered there can follow all the action. There are only a few minutes to go now before the inauguration ceremony is scheduled to get under way.


    One person who won't be in attendance at the inauguration today is Mitt Romney, who challenged Mr Obama in November's election. He is the first presidential race loser to skip the event since Michael Dukakis was defeated by George H W Bush in 1988.

    BBC Washington correspondent, Ben Wright

    tweets: Crowds still filing into the National Mall. Now backed up to the Monument. Some watching from branches of trees. @BBCNewsUS


    Here come Mr Obama's daughters Sasha and Malia, and their maternal grandmother Marian Robinson.


    Some good news for the president ahead of his inauguration: Republican officials say the House of Representatives will hold a vote on Wednesday to approve an increase in the national borrowing limit - the debt ceiling. A fight over the issue in August 2011 triggered a major political row and prompted one rating agency to downgrade its AAA rating for US government debt.


    Former Speaker of the House and presidential candidate Newt Gingrich and his wife Callista as they arrive at the Capitol.

    Former Presidential Candidate Newt Gingrich and his wife, Callista, at the inauguration 21 January 2012
    Melissa Tony Stires

    tweets: Big day today, no matter who you voted for time to come together & celebrate our freedom! God Bless America #inaug2013


    While many of the US great and good are at the Capitol, two former presidents - George W Bush and his father George H W Bush - are not at the ceremony today. The elder Bush, now 88, was recently in hospital being treated for bronchitis and other issues.


    Around the world millions are watching the inauguration. Nicolas Suarez in Colombia tells BBC Mundo: "I think there is going to be a change. Let's hope that [Mr Obama] really wants to change his country and that creates a ripple effect in Latin America."


    Jill Biden, wife of the vice-president, has just made her entrance. Then First Lady Michelle Obama, who is sporting a new haircut, walks out to cheers from the crowd.


    Trumpets sound as Vice-President Joe Biden takes the inaugural stage. He's accompanied by Representative Nancy Pelosi and Senator Harry Reid, the top Democrats in Congress.


    Barack Obama has just taken the stage. He appears solemn as he walks out to face the crowds - and he must be feeling chilly without a coat on.

    Sasha (L) and Malia Obama at the Capitol

    Smiles from the Obama girls as they await their father's big moment.


    As New York Senator Chuck Schumer delivers the welcoming remarks Mr Obama leafs through the pages of his speech, which he will delivered once he is sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts.


    A bit of trivia: Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki is the cabinet member not at the ceremony today. That's because he is the "designated survivor" - who would succeed to the presidency in the case of a massive disaster at the inauguration site.

    David Botti BBC News, Washington

    Jumbotron keeps cutting out on the National Mall. People booing. Audio and video cutting out.


    We are now hearing from civil rights advocate Myrlie Evers-Williams, who is delivering the inaugural invocation. She recalls the emancipation proclamation and historic march on Washington, saying the election of a black president marks progress towards a "more perfect union".


    Ms Evers-Williams asks that the president act "courageously but cautiously" as the leader of the US.


    Here he is - President Barack Obama waving to the crowd and wearing a discreet coat to keep out the January chill moments before he takes the oath of office.

    US President Barack Obama
    1640: Maliamungu Abubakari

    in Juba, South Sudan, tells BBC Africa: "Due to [Mr Obama's] eloquence, always everyone hopes for improvement, but I [believe] that this will be the most challenging term for him since the world is experiencing crises in almost all aspects... Nevertheless, the world is ready to evaluate him at the end of his term, so he will [do] all he can to achieve something at the end of his term."


    The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir is belting out the Battle Hymn of the Republic. Mr Obama has turned to face them and smiles as he listens.


    More from around the world: Shafi'u Bala tells BBC Hausa: "We pray [Mr Obama's] second term in office will be better than the first. We hope he contributes more towards the development of democracy in African countries."


    Some background on the invocation: Myrlie Evers-Williams is the widow of civil rights activist Medgar Evers, who was assassinated in 1963. She became the chairman of of the board of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored Persons in 1995.


    Republican Tennessee Congressman Lamar Alexander praises the peaceful transfer of power from one administration to the next, and introduces Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor for the swearing-in of Vice-President Joe Biden.


    Mr Biden raises his right hand, and promises to "bear true faith and allegiance" to the US. He has been sworn in.


    James Taylor is now in the spotlight, regaling the crowds with a rendition of America the Beautiful.


    Chief Justice John Roberts is now being called to the stage to swear in the president.


    Michelle Obama is holding the bibles as Mr Obama swears to "preserve, protect and defend" the constitution of the United States. He is flanked by his two daughters, wearing bright pink and purple coats.


    Barack Obama takes the oath of office and is sworn in for a second term as US president.


    Ceremonial canons fire as the oath of office is completed.


    Mr Obama has just begun his inaugural address, saying that with every election we "affirm the promise of our democracy".


    "What makes us American is our allegiance to an idea," Mr Obama says, adding that today continues a "never-ending journey" to realise the inalienable rights enshrined in the constitution.


    President Obama is sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts.

    Barack Obama sworn in as US president

    Mr Obama says "a great nation must care for the vulnerable", an early reference to the nation's obligation to help its people recover from natural disasters - such as "superstorm Sandy".


    Obama: "Preserving our individual freedoms requires collective action."


    Applause rings out as Mr Obama mentions the ending of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.


    The president calls on America to act together, saying the current generation has been tested by economic downturn and a decade of war. "My fellow Americans, we are made for this moment," Mr Obama says, as he calls for America to rise to the challenges it faces.


    Obama calls for a revamped tax code and improved schools. He says the US must reform healthcare to reduce costs while preserving access to services, and address the national deficit.


    In a direct reference to the current debate over entitlements in Congress, Obama says the government programmes "do not make us a nation of takers, they free us to make this country great".


    On global affairs, Mr Obama suggests he could move to address climate change, saying the US must "preserve our planet". He also says peace and security does not require "perpetual war".


    He pledges to work to resolve conflicts peacefully, while still pledging to support democracy around the world.


    Recalling the civil rights struggles and invoking the memory of Martin Luther King, Obama exhorts the crowd: "It is now our generation's task to carry on what those pioneers began."


    "Our journey is not complete" until women are compensated equally in the workplace and same-sex couples can marry, Mr Obama says, adding a vow to make it easier for immigrants to gain access to legal work in the country.


    The Democratic US president turns to the issue of bipartisan gridlock in Washington, where Republicans control the House of Representatives: it is not necessary to resolve the question of the size of government for all time, he says, but "it does require us to act in our time".


    Obama: "For now decisions are upon us, and we cannot afford delay. We cannot mistake absolutism for principle, or substitute spectacle for politics, or treat name-calling as reasoned debate."


    Mr Obama pledges to work for all Americans, saying his oath was made in the name of god and country - not political party. "Let us answer the call of history," he says as he closes his remarks.

    1714: Larry Sabato University of Virginia

    tells the BBC's Katty Kay that Mr Obama's speech was a "far superior" address to the one he made four years ago.


    A closer view of the oath: President Barack Obama takes his second oath of office with his wife, Michelle Obama, at his side. She holds two bibles - one used by former President Abraham Lincoln and the other used by legendary civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

    Barack Obama and Michelle Obama at his second presidential inauguration 21 January 2013

    After a performance by singer Kelly Clarkson, inaugural poet Richard Blanco steps up to the podium.

    BBC Washington correspondent, Ben Wright

    tweets: Big screens on Mall have bad signal, poor sound. People leaving in droves, complaining, angry @BBCNewsUS


    Blanco is the youngest person to be selected as inaugural poet, and is also the first Hispanic and the first openly gay poet chosen to participate in an inaugural ceremony. The BBC profiled the 44-year-old, and asked him about the work he composed for the occasion.

    Joan Soley BBC News, Washington

    tweets from the National Mall: Upset and cold, unable to hear/see the big screen by the monument - ppl leaving en masse

    Crowds leaving the National Mall

    Back at the Capitol, Rev Luis Leon of St. John's Church, Washington, recalls the work of Martin Luther King Jr as he delivers the inaugural benediction. Monday is also a federal holiday in honour of the civil rights leader.


    The reverend delivers a blessing in English and in Spanish at the end of his remarks. Now it's time for the national anthem, sung by Beyonce Knowles. Cue cheers from the crowd.


    With a typically soaring rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner, Beyonce brings the 2013 US presidential inauguration ceremony to an end, before turning to kiss the president.


    The crowd erupts in cheers as Beyonce finishes singing - and the presidential party begins moving to exit the stage. President Obama, Vice-President Biden and their wives are now due to have lunch with congressional leaders before the inaugural parade begins.

    Mark Mardell BBC North America editor

    tweets: Obama's inaugural speech links America's constitutional values with his party's vision - uncompromising.


    Journey? People? Citizens? America? Which word did Mr Obama use most in his inaugural address? See for yourself with this word cloud - full-size version here.

    Obama address word cloud

    Before the dignitaries have even left the stage, pundits are already slicing and dicing the president's remarks. Political commentator Larry Sabato tells the BBC that despite Obama's calls for unity in his inaugural address, he expects a protracted battle over key issues including immigration, gun control and government spending.

    Beyonce Knowles and Barck Obama at the presidential inauguration 21 January 2013

    Beyonce gets a warm thank-you from Barack Obama after singing the national anthem.

    1757: Syeda Abida Hussain former Pakistani ambassador to Washington

    tells BBC Urdu: "It has become a given in American politics that first-term presidents have their eye on a second term. But it is in the second term that they can make meaningful changes. And I do believe that President Obama has the intellectual capacity as well as the moral integrity to be able to effect improvement in the world and improvement in the US also."


    Former Republican vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan tweets: I congratulate President Obama on his inauguration, and I join the country in celebrating this American tradition.


    The reaction is beginning to come in to Mr Obama's speech: Jonathan Allen writes for Politico that it was a "vigorous and pro-active testament to the power of government to support and protect its people". He adds that the president tried to connect his idea to the foundations of American democracy by repeating "we the people" - the opening words of the US constitution.


    Meanwhile, veteran Washington-watcher James Fallows writes for The Atlantic: "This was the most sustainedly 'progressive' statement Barack Obama has made in his decade on the national stage. I was expecting an anodyne tone-poem about healing national wounds, surmounting partisanship, and so on... this speech made news and alters politics in a way I had not anticipated."

    Twitter Government (@gov)

    reveals the level of interest in #Inaug2013: 1.1 Million #Inauguration -related Tweets during #Inaug2013 ceremony. Total for 2009 = ~82k.

    Barack Obama impersonator

    Bolivian Luis Velarde snapped this picture shortly before the inauguration started of a Barack Obama impersonator doing the rounds in Washington DC. Please send your pictures through to or here.


    We posted the word cloud of Mr Obama's speech a while ago. Now you can look over the full text of his 2,109-word address.


    Footage of Barack Obama taking one final look at the scene on the Mall as the inauguration ceremony ends is proving popular on Twitter. @nowthisnews tweets an animated photo of the president's last wistful look: "I want to take a look one more time. I'm not going to see this again."


    Mr Obama got down to business as soon as his inauguration was over. He signed a proclamation - called National Day of Hope and Resolve, 2013 - and submitted four of his nominations to cabinet posts: Massachusetts Senator John Kerry for the post of secretary of state, former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel as secretary of defence, top White House counter-terrorism adviser John Brennan as CIA director and White House chief of staff Jack Lew as Treasury secretary. The Senate needs to confirm all four nominations.

    1900: Mark Mardell BBC North America editor

    has some more on the inauguration speech: The president's attempt to link his vision with that of the Founding Fathers puts his second-term plans in philosophical context, he says. It is an important message to the people who accuse Mr Obama of turning America into a different land, Mark Mardell says.


    More vital inauguration post-mortem. Just in case you missed it, or would like another listen, here's Beyonce singing the US national anthem.

    President Barack Obama (left), First Lady Michelle Obama and House Speaker John Boehner at an inaugural luncheon 21 January 2013

    So this is where the newly inaugurated president is now: enjoying New England lobster and South Dakota bison at a luncheon in the Statuary Hall of the Capitol. The gathering brings together the power-brokers of Washington with congressional leaders, cabinet members and military leaders all in attendance.


    In a speech at the lunch, House Speaker John Boehner offered flags to Mr Obama and Mr Biden, wishing them "congratulations and Godspeed" on their second term in office. They were also presented with official photographs and other inaugural gifts.

    University of Maryland students smiling

    Rachel Eberius and her fellow University of Maryland students said the atmosphere in Washington was energetic and hopeful.


    New York Senator Chuck Schumer raised a toast to Mr Biden and Mr Obama, saying he hoped their partnership would grow stronger and more productive. He offered congratulations on a "well-deserved" second term.


    When Mr Biden took to the podium, he said it was "one of the great privileges" of his life to have served as Mr Obama's vice-president.


    Mr Obama offered a final toast to his wife, Michelle. While at the podium, he said the greatest irony of the presidency is "the longer you are there the more humble you become", and he thanked those gathered at lunch for their service and partnership.


    @BBCNewsUS tweets: Google maps says it should take about 39 minutes to cover the 2 mile #Inaug2013 parade route - expect this to take a lot longer.

    President Barack Obama is flanked by congressional leaders 21 January 2013

    President Obama is flanked by congressional leaders and his vice-president as he signs a proclamation to commemorate the inauguration.


    The Obamas and the Bidens are now standing on the steps of Congress as the inauguration parade gets under way. Guards in ceremonial dress march past them, accompanied by military marching bands.


    @BBCNewsUS tweets: CNN is reporting that the #Inaug2013 parade will feature 8,800 people (41 unicyclists among them) and 200 animals


    The presidential motorcade has left the Capitol and is slowly driving down Pennsylvania Avenue toward the White House. Later in the evening the Obamas will attend several balls in honour of his inauguration.

    2031: Laura Trevelyan BBC News, New York

    tweets: "Crowds at L'Enfant Plaza metro trying to get home"

    L'Enfant plaza

    The fleet of heavily armoured cars is crawling down the street, with Secret Service escorts flanking the cars on foot. Crowds are thin along the street on the early part of the route, although cheers can be heard as the cars pass by.


    Once the motorcade is closer to the White House, the president may get out of the car and walk a stretch of the route.


    The parade route moves west along Pennsylvania Avenue and passes in front of the White House, where the president will view the parade from a glass-enclosed stand.


    European democracies don't really have an equivalent to the presidential inauguration, the Washington Post's Anne Applebaum writes, but the spectacle does remind her of something else: "The marriage of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge was, like Obama's inauguration, carefully designed to evoke the glorious past and the bright future, to display the ancient symbols and to help young people engage with the national story."


    @BBCNewsUS tweets: .@MarsCuriosity tweets: My double is ready to roll in #inaug2013 parade with @NASA & @NASAJPL mission team members


    The president's motorcade has stopped near the National Archives. Mr Obama and the first lady have emerged from the car and are walking.


    They are holding hands and waving to the crowd, surrounded by Secret Service agents as they walk down Pennsylvania Avenue. The crowds are much deeper and louder along this stretch of the parade route.

    2050: CK

    I attended the inauguration on the mall. The ceremony was good in itself, but organisation of the crowds was appalling with long queues and waits to enter and exit the mall.


    Meanwhile, the Washington Post reports some ticket-holders are having trouble getting to the parade because of slow-moving security checks.


    After a few minutes' walk, the Obamas are now back in the armoured limousine and will continue to the White House by car. The parade and floats are to follow on behind them.


    People are clustered around the sides of the road and lining the roofs of the buildings as the first couple move through the heart of Washington.


    The presidential motorcade is several blocks long.

    Presidential motorcade

    CNN's congressional correspondent Dana Bash tweets: "Fascinating: POTUS and Chief Justice Roberts signed the MLK bible, at the request of the King family, per Secretary of Senate"

    Taking a picture

    Military Police from the Virginia National Guard have been manning traffic control points during the inauguration - and posing for pictures with spectators. Send your photos to or upload them here.


    Both the president and vice-president have issued email appeals to their supporters in the wake of the inauguration, asking for their continued commitment over the next four years.


    The motorcade has just passed Washington DC's city hall. Above the mayor's reviewing stand is the phrase: "A more perfect union must include a free DC" - a reference to the District of Columbia's lack of voting representation in the House of Representatives and other complaints.


    In front of the treasury department, the Obamas emerge from the limousine once more and are walking the last stretch of the parade route. The screams from the crowd are deafening.


    The applause and cheers are intense as spectators pack viewing stands to get a look at the Obamas.

    2112: Austin Patrick

    from Montclair emailed: We hosted a small celebratory luncheon of soul foods and a Kenyan dish called kunde to celebrate President Obama's Kenyan roots. We've critiqued everything from the speeches to facial expressions and fashion... but we are all so proud to be African Americans today.


    Behind the Obamas and their lengthy motorcade come the marching bands and floats.

    2117: Ann from Dayton, Ohio emails:

    I am glad I get to live this historic moment in time. One day I will be able to tell my grandkids "I was there".


    Vice-President Joe Biden and his wife Jill have also left their limousine and are waving to the crowd while they make their way towards the end of the parade route.


    The Obamas are back in their car, but Vice-President Biden has walked right up to the barriers to shake the hands of people who have gathered to watch and is laughing and chatting with people in the crowd.


    NBC News' Michael O'Brien tweets: "DC's metro system (@wmata) saw about 466,000 riders today, per DC Metro Police. That's about 63% of the ridership in '09."


    What are those on the National Mall for the inauguration hopeful for and worried about as Obama begins his second term? The BBC's Kate Dailey talks to several Americans and some Canadians at today's festivities.


    Thanks to your contributions, we have been able to put together a gallery of your pictures of the inauguration.


    The president, vice-president and their families have arrived at the viewing stand in front of the White House. The parade - complete with floats and marching bands - can now resume.


    As the parade continues past the White House and many in Washington prepare for this evening's inaugural balls, our live coverage comes to an end. Thank you for your photos, emails and tweets. Our full coverage of the US presidential inauguration can be found here.


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