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January 20, 2009. Washington, DC..Almost 2 million people packed the National Mall in sub freezing temperatures to witness the swearing in of Barack Obama, the 44th president of the united States and the first African American to hold the office. . People wrapped in blankets, coats and huddled together to try and keep warm in the hours leading up to the ceremonies. Elvirika Everson, of Charleston, SC, waved her flags to keep warm.