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WASHINGTON - JANUARY 20: Spectators wave as US President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama arrive at the Presidential Reviewing Stand during the Inaugural Parade January 20, 2009 in Washington, DC. Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States, becoming the first African American to be elected President of the US. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Inaugural planners say that though the Inaugural crowds are expected to be smaller Monday than they were four years ago, more locals seem to be going this time.
They have noticed a sharp increase in requests for tickets from people who live in the D.C. metro area, organizers said at a press conference Wednesday.
"Around the Washington Metro Region, the ticket requests to Congress far exceed the requests in 2009, because there are local folks who in 2009 were a little concerned because there were one or two million people coming from around the country - so they opted to stay home," said Steve Kerrigan, CEO of the Presidential Inaugural Committee.
"This time around they are not doing that," he said.
"We're excited because we actually think the excitement around this Inaugural is palpable," Kerrigan said at the press conference at the National Press Club.
PIC is finalizing some of the construction along the parade route, Kerrigan said. And much time lately has been spent making sure that the ticketing systems are prepared.
Staffing is increased from four years ago, when long lines and crowds kept many from attending Inaugural events.
"A lot of guests are coming into town," Kerrigan said. "We're getting ready for the eyes of the world to be upon us in the next couple of days."
Work on this Inauguration began immediately after the last one ended - and now, the work is coming to a dramatic conclusion. Kerrigan said the importance of the moment - which will occur on the holiday honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. - was not lost on the committee.
On Monday, a bible used by President Lincoln, the Great Emancipator, will be used to swear in the president, as well as a bible owned by King.
"It's 150 years since the Emancipation Proclamation has been signed, 50 years since the March on Washington," Kerrigan said.
"And an African American president is going to take the oath of office," he said. "I mean, if that's not the American dream, than I don’t' know what is."