Just hours away from being sworn in as not only the nations' 44th president, but also as the first African-American man to take this important role, Obama chose to start the day by attending a church service with his wife.

In their first public appearance of the day, Obama and his wife, Michelle Obama, attended a private service at St. John's Episcopal Church, a tradition for those about to become president. The family of Vice President-elect Joe Biden also attended, according to the Associated Press.

The Rev. Luis Leon welcomed the Obama's at the door and said every president since James Madison has worshipped at the church at least once, some of them kicking and screaming.

After the pre-inauguration church service, the new first couple and the Biden's are scheduled to meet with President Bush, Vice President Cheney, their wives and congressional leaders over coffee at the White House.

Then they will travel the short distance to the Capitol for Obama's history-making moment which will take place at noon.

Even before the break of dawn, streams of people were making their way onto the Mall between the Capitol and the Lincoln Memorial to reserve their place ahead of the historical moment.

My dad was here for King and I was here for Obama, Tammy Garret, from Moss Point, Mississippi told FT.

This is the only place to be, it is going to be part of history, this is my democracy, she added.