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Lincoln Memorial Event Kicks Off

The "We Are One" celebration kicked off at the Lincoln Memorial this afternoon with President-Elect Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden, along with their wives, descending from the steps of the memorial to take seats at the side of the stage.

You can watch it live here.

Actor Denzel Washington first addressed the crowd, referencing the historic locale and moment. A huge crowd, packed tight around the reflecting pool from the Lincoln Memorial to the Washington Monument, cheered as he spoke.

"My grandmother told me stories about things African Americans couldn't do," 35-year-old Chicago resident Catina Thomas, who was standing in the crowd, told's Steve Smith. "I feel like I am standing here for her."

After Washington spoke, Bruce Springsteen performed the song "The Rising," along with a choir. He was followed by Martin Luther King III and actress Laura Linney, who showed videos of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy making iconic remarks to the American people about getting through tough times.

Later on, Mary J. Blige performed "Lean On Me" – a performance that elicited plenty of singing and clapping from the crowd – and Jamie Foxx, Steve Carell and Tom Hanks spoke. Hanks quoted Abe Lincoln in his remarks.

The crowd was mostly orderly, Smith reports, though tempers flared when some people cut the long lines at security checkpoints.

The weather for the event was cold and cloudy, but not as chilling as it had been over the past few days in the nation's capital.

"I don't want to miss this moment in history," 53-year-old Dorothy Carpenter said as she stood in the crowd. "When Martin Luther King was here, I was too young."

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