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The Boston Globe

Nation

In the throng, mix of hope, worry about divide

WASHINGTON — It was a spur-of-the-moment decision made just three days earlier but George Rhodes, a retired schoolteacher from Selma, Ala., who has always been daunted by crowds and big cities, felt compelled to drive 860 miles to the nation’s capital to witness the inauguration of President Obama.

He came alone, after scoring a downtown hotel room for under $300 online, and made his way on foot, along with thousands of others, to the Washington Monument, where those without official tickets to the swearing-in ceremony gathered to celebrate a hard-fought victory.

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