Over 100,000 rode the Metro between 4:00 - 6:00. And still they are coming. Ticketed areas open up at 8:00 and people are reportedly running to get to better places on the mall. People are jumping up and down - not just from excitement but to keep warm! At this point, there is still space on the mall but not in front of the metrotron.
As of 7:00, Metro had moved 207,000 people into DC. The trains are running well. Note to those who aren't familiar with subways - there are no bathroom on metro trains. They have 5000 porta potties on the mall at the base of the Washington Monument. It is really sort of a surreal picture and not one I've seen broadcast. I saw it in the Washington Post a few days ago.
Obama has done a very good job of setting a civil tone and that is one of his greatest strengths, in my opinion. The crowd, at this point, seems very civil and mellow, especially when you consider how stressful getting down there must be.
When I look at the crowds on TV, I am happy for them but happier that I am able to watch from home. I have no idea how that many people are going to be able to stand for next few hours followed by the ordeal it is going to be get home. They have come by staying overnight and/or staggering their arrival. They will leave at roughly the same time. Moreover, they can only bring "snack" foods. If this were a rock concert of a bunch of wild kids, I wouldn't worry. But there are old people out there. Lots of area hospitals are beefed up on their staff and supplies to handle the inevitable emergencies that will happen with this many people under the best of circumstances. But how would these old people get to the hospitals?
I've posted, before, that I have a touch of PTDS left over from being trapped in DC after 911. I can't even look at these crowds without feeling angst. But I am happy that they get to be there!