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Inauguration Day events in London - recap

President Obama

In a few short hours, Barack Hussein Obama II will become the 44th president of the United States. Whether you voted for Obama or the other guy, there's no denying the historic impact of this moment. Only in America can the black son of a Kenyan goat-herding Muslim and white Christian Kansan become president. 

Americans abroad will be celebrating this historic moment in our nation's history. In the UK, home to 300,000 Americans -- 50,000 in London alone -- will be celebrating at parties from Cambridge to Edinburgh, from Liverpool to London.  The Two Crabs will be attending the American Meetup party in our own neighborhood.  Photos to follow.

It's hard to believe that just 4 years ago, Obama was a little-known senator from Illinois. As a reminder, here's the moment when most Americans learned about Obama, during his 2004 speech at the Democratic National Convention:

Meanwhile, check out this wonderful article that ran on the front page of today's Guardian newspaper:

Magical spell that will open a new American era

By Jonathan Freedland in Washington

Today a magic spell will be performed. A man who 12 weeks ago was a mere political candidate will be transformed with the incantation of a few words, before a vast crowd and a television audience in the hundreds of millions if not billions, into the head of state, even the embodiment, of the most powerful nation on earth.

It is an act of political alchemy that happens every time a new president is inaugurated, but rarely has the moment been as anticipated as this one. Washington DC, usually a city of strait-laced, sober-suited types has acquired the atmosphere of a child's bedroom in the first hours of Christmas morning. There are snow flurries outside, tacky decorations everywhere - and the resolve to wake up early, so as not to miss a moment of the great day.

The excitement is intense and has been building for days, increasing with each coachload of newcomers that arrives in the city. Women wear woolly hats against the cold, the word OBAMA spelled out in diamante letters. Street-hawkers sell T-shirts bearing Obama's face, alongside ever more grandiose slogans. One shows a beatific president-to-be under the quasi-biblical declaration: "And he shall be called Barack Obama."

Click here for the full story.