President-elect Barack Obama practiced the age-old virtue of service on Monday and summoned memories of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. “Everyone’s got to be involved,” said the man in line to become the first black chief executive. “Tomorrow we will come together as one people on the same Mall where Dr. King’s dream echoes still,” says Obama, who takes the oath of office at noon Tuesday at a time of economic crisis at home and two wars overseas. The festive crowds already jamming the Capital for the national holiday honoring King were just a preview of the vast throng expected for Inauguration Day events. Uniformed military personnel were stationed at street corners, advance guard of the massive security presence planned for the oath-taking, inaugural speech, parade and other festivities. There were no disturbances reported.
At Walter Reed Army Medical Center, the president-elect visited 14 veterans injured in Iraq and Afghanistan. Then his motorcade headed for the Sasha Bruce House, a facility for homeless teens, where he grabbed a paint roller and helped volunteers who were fixing up rooms. “We can’t allow any idle hands,” he said. “Everybody’s got to be involved.”