WASHINGTON -- From the musicians in new purple uniforms who traveled from places like Des Moines and Montgomery, Ala., to march with a gay and lesbian band, to high school mariachi performers from Texas -- including some who took their first plane ride to get here -- to scores of elegant African-American women in full-length mink coats and matching hats, the faces of Inauguration Day 2013 were the faces of those left behind by the political process in decades and centuries past.
If Jan. 20, 2009, was a day for the history books and a feel-good moment for all of America, Monday was a celebration for the diverse coalition that landed the nation's first black president in the White House for a second term: Latinos, gay people, women and especially African-Americans.
Riding on a bus to the heated staging tent on the National Mall, members of the Lesbian and Gay Band Association listened intently as the radio played President Obama's Inaugural Address. A tear streamed down the cheek of Gary Nell, a 53-year-old drum major from Des Moines, as Mr. Obama referred to the Stonewall riots of 1969 in New York, which spawned the gay rights movement. "It was so affirming," Mr. Nell said.
Outside the security perimeter, 11-year-old Angel Lucero, fresh-faced and earnest, politely asked passers-by where he and his family might get tickets to the swearing-in. His parents, Mexican immigrants, spoke little English. His older sister, Jennifer, 15, said they had come from Bladensburg, Md., to see the president "because we think that he's going to help us, help other people who aren't free in this country."
For gay people and Latinos particularly, the president's second swearing-in was an occasion to savor newfound political clout. But it was also imbued with the sense that Mr. Obama had better make good on the promises he failed to keep during his first term, including an immigration overhaul, as well as a repeal of the law barring federal recognition of same-sex marriage.
"This time there is a much higher expectation," said Jessica Gallegos, 23, a native of Quito, Ecuador, who works for the World Bank. Despite the president's failure to revamp the nation's immigration laws, she said, "the community still stood behind him. Now it's time for him to deliver."
On a day that doubled as a tribute to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Mr. Obama drew a connection between them by swearing to uphold the Constitution over King's Bible. While some African-American leaders wish Mr. Obama would pay more attention to issues like poverty and urban decay, many blacks who trekked to the capital said the second time around was even sweeter.
"I think the first time a lot of African-Americans voted for him just because he was black," said Mark McDaniel, 42, a retired Navy officer from Chesapeake, Va., as he navigated a packed Metro station. "This time it seemed like the country wanted him back."
Throughout Washington on Monday, as the sun rose over the Capitol and gray skies gave way to blue, there was a festive spirit in the air. The cold was not nearly as bitter and the crowds not as crushing as four years ago, but the turnout was still heavy, as tens of thousands of visitors, clutching maps and toting cameras, filled the city.
Security was tight. Paradegoers waved American flags, street vendors hawked Obama paraphernalia -- which was not selling nearly as briskly as in 2009 -- and the streets downtown, closed to cars, became a sea of (mostly polite) humanity.
"We're here for the history in the making," said Iris Davis-Saulsberry, a high school history teacher from Las Vegas who wore a bomber jacket bearing the presidential seal. Her friend Dorothy Lawson was already thinking about 2016, and the possibility that a woman might become president. "That's our dream," Ms. Lawson said.
As the president delivered a message that focused heavily on equality, members of the Texas high school mariachi band, dressed in finery that was hand-embroidered over the border in Guadalajara, awaited their turn to play. Among them was Noel Marquez, a guitar player who recently turned 18 and said he would have voted for Mr. Obama -- if only he had been old enough.
Not far away, Marita Begley, artistic director of the Gay and Lesbian Band Association, could barely contain her excitement. She had painstakingly prepared a program featuring the work of gay composers (Leonard Bernstein and Aaron Copland), a woman (Lady Gaga), and a Latino (Pitbull).
Her group marched in the 2009 inaugural parade, before Mr. Obama came out in favor of same-sex marriage, and before "don't ask, don't tell" was repealed. Although there is still more to do -- Ms. Begley would like same-sex marriage to be legal across the land -- she could not help notice that inauguration officials allowed her band to bring a much bigger contingent this time, and gave it a much more prominent spot, right next to the civil rights float.
"It's really good to be here," she said, "as full citizens."
Correction: January 22, 2013, Tuesday
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction: An earlier version of this article misstated the name of a group who listened to President Obama's Inaugural Address on the National Mall. It is called the Lesbian and Gay Band Association, not the Gay and Lesbian Band Association.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.