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Crowds filled the National Mall on a crisp Monday for the second inauguration of President Barack Obama, who will recite the oath of office and address the nation a day after formally beginning his second term.

The nation’s first African-American president will become only the 17th U.S. leader to deliver a second inaugural address before heading the traditional parade up Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House.

Amid the pomp and ceremony, with heralding trumpets announcing the arrival of dignitaries and red, white and blue bunting festooned throughout central Washington, the event symbolizes American democracy with a peaceful extension of power based on last November’s election that returned Obama to the White House.

“Welcome to this celebration of our great democracy,” Sen. Charles Schumer, D-New York, declared in opening the formalities of the nation’s 57th presidential inauguration.

Two former presidents, Cabinet officials, Supreme Court justices, members of Congress and other dignitaries filled the temporary facade on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol.

Not in attendance was Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki, the designated “survivor” for the event.

Satisfying the constitutional obligation to be sworn in on January 20, Obama and Vice President Joe Biden took quiet oaths the day before Monday’s public ceremony at the Capitol.

Obama begins the second half of his presidency with the opportunity to make it more historic but facing some of the same challenges that he struggled with in the first four years.

He hosted congressional leaders from both parties for tea on Monday morning, and will take part in a traditional lunch with them after his inauguration speech.

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