By Taylor Lasley

WASHINGTON — Barack Obama will be inaugurated today as the 44th president of the United States. The News is here on the National Mall to live-blog the ceremony.

12:13 p.m. | The Inaugural Prayer said that we are “United by our freedom and justice for all.”

But perhaps more impressive than this unity, is the unity that Barack Obama has already, less than an hour into his presidency, has given over two million people that surround me.

I turned to my friend and I told her that I feel like I know Barack Obama, that he is a friend. It seems, from others’ calling his first name and cheering for Michelle, Malia and Sasha that they feel the same. Tears are flowing and it seems that everyone truly believes the words that our president is saying and the promises that he is making.

12:11 p.m. | Waving flags, screaming people and huge smiles as Obama appeared on the screen. He processes down the hallway with the very confidence that got him elected. An expression of calm, collected excitement is clear on his face as he prepares to be inaugurated as the 44th President of the United States. Words of awe and cheers of “Oh-ba-ma!” in the crowds.

“There is nothing to say — we’re in a moment of history,” Carmen Chambers ’12 said.

12:05 p.m. | As soon as George W. Bush ’68 was introduced, the crowd surrounding me stooped to the level of kids at a high school basketball game and started singing “na-na-na-na, goodbye.” It makes me question why party politics has made it such that the only way to support one politician is by disrespecting another.

11:14 a.m. | General laughter from the audience when the announcer asked us to “please be seated.” This experience gives a new meaning to the term “standing room only.”

11:00 a.m. | After about a half-hour walk from Georgetown University I have finally arrived at The Mall. We had no trouble entering from the waterfront side which was surprisingly open.

Everyone is bundled to avoid bitter winds. Patrons are lined against the reflecting pool between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument. The JumboTron screens will be the only chance that I have of watching the Inauguration. The sea of patriotically-dressed people eagerly awaiting the action is, hopefully, tight enough to provide body heat for the rest of the morning.

“It actually does make me want to cry when I think of all the patriotism and the hope,” Charlotte Thun-Hohenstein ’12 said.

More to come after my hands defrost.