The pre-dawn crowd on the blue line from Virginia already looked exhausted, many from a long night on buses. One tour group from Alabama was excitedly asking at each Metro stop where new passengers were from. As newcomers responded to the question the Alabama group shouted "Michigan in the house!" or "Cincinnati in the house!" By the time train pulled into D.C. at least eight states were represented on the car.
Linda Earl of Huntsville, Ala., traveling with her sister and friends, had attended the 2009 Inaugural too. She's even more excited this time because it is Martin Luther King Day. She was 10 at the time of King's March to Washington and she wanted to go see him but her dad said no, but told her that she could run alongside the King march through Alabama. She did for about a half mile, she said.
"I begged my daddy to let me go. He let me run alongside a piece of the way. Today I flew up. I didn't have to walk."
She said she never thought the United States would have a black president.
"When there is a crowd together to celebrate an Inaugural there is happiness and love and compassion. Everyone is warm and kind to one another," said Ms. Earl, adding that it's what Martin Luther King wanted.
Ms. Earl works for the Department of Defense in Alabama. She doesn't have a ticket so she will be standing way back on the Mall, she said. "It doesn't matter. I would stand in water to be here."