Two Fraters Assist Historical Presidential Inauguration
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Huge crowds are streaming through the streets of Washington Tuesday to witness an American political milestone - the swearing-in of Barack Obama as the country's first black president. Two Fraters are helping make this historic day safe.
Navy Commander Frater Ken Georgevits (Mu-Epsilon, Univ. of Massachusetts-Lowell), and Marine Lt Col. Frater Anthony Graves Buckingham, (Rho-Beta, Michigan State Univ.) are serving on the Armed Forces Inaugural Committee in the nation's capital helping prepare and facilitate the Inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States.
Commander Georgevits is responsible for coordinating all Ceremonial Military Honors for the 10 Official Balls at five different venues throughout the District of Columbia. Attendance at the Balls will range from 2,500 to 10,000 people each. Lt. Col. Graves Buckingham is responsible for coordinating all Military Assistants to the First and Second Families as well as Cabinet Designees.
As many as 40,000 police and security officers from 150 different agencies have shut down all inbound bridges and a large chunk of downtown Washington. Parking is banned in many sections of the city and the more than two million people expected to head downtown have been advised to use Metrorail, Washington's subway system.
Riders seemed to be in a jubilant mood, despite the early hour. Riding a mostly empty subway train into the capital from nearby Arlington, Va., before 5 a.m., Obama activist Akin Salawu of Brooklyn, N.Y., called the day "the culmination of two years of work."
Helicopters hover overhead as long lineups wind through the streets heading to the National Mall - the three-kilometre stretch between the Capitol and Lincoln Memorial - where giant telescreens have been positioned throughout the area.
Spectators are bundled against the cold, with sunny skies and temperatures hovering a few degrees below 0 C.
"I'm surrounded by a throng of people getting ready to stand and wait for hours," said CBC reporter Paul Hunter, whose usual five-minute commute to the Mall took about an hour.
"It's quiet, it's orderly, but it is a huge, huge crowd already."
The 47-year-old former Illinois senator, will be sworn in as the country's 44th president by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts. Michelle Obama, the wife of the president-elect, will carefully hold Abraham Lincoln's Bible, which hasn't been used since he took the oath of office in 1861.
Obama, who enters the Oval Office facing significant domestic and foreign policy challenges, including a deep economic crisis and wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, is expected to call for a new "era of responsibility" when he delivers his highly anticipated inaugural speech.
The address, to last about 20 minutes, is expected to ask Americans to reject the philosophy of "me first" and call on individuals, corporations and businesses to take responsibility for their actions, CNN reported.
Obama, the son of a black Kenyan father and a white mother from Kansas, has been studying the inaugural speeches of Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt to prepare himself for the event.
His swearing-in will be followed by the U.S. Marine Corps band playing Hail to the Chief and a 21-gun salute.
Commander Georgevits, an Aerospace Engineering Duty Officer, resides in Concord, New Hampshire. His brother John Georgevits, is also a Teke from Mu-Epsilon chapter. His son Andrew is a legacy Teke at the Beta-Xi Chapter of Arizona State University majoring in Political Science.
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