President Barack Obama and his family have begun inauguration day by attending services at St. John's Episcopal Church near the White House.

People wave American flags near the U.S. Capitol building (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The presidential motorcade arrived shortly after 8:30 a.m. under crisp, cold skies outside the sanctuary. The president and first lady Michelle Obama emerged to pose briefly for photos with their daughters Sasha and Malia before entering the church.

Vice President Joe Biden and his family also attended.

At the service, Pastor Andy Stanley asked what people do when they realize they are the most powerful person in the room.

Stanley continued, "You leverage that power for the benefit of other people in the room."

To the president, Stanley said: "Mr. President, you have an awfully big room. My prayer to you is to leverage that power for the stewardship of our nation."

Some who didn't support Obama among those gathered for inauguration

John Mayer and Katy Perry attend the presidential inauguration (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

She describes herself as "mostly Republican" -- but Vicki Lyons of Colorado says being in Washington for today's inauguration is "like standing in the middle of history."

Although she didn't vote for President Barack Obama, Lyons says, "No matter who the president is, everybody needs to do this at least once."

A North Carolina woman has brought her young daughter to the inauguration, just as she did four years ago. Kenya Strong says she wants her daughter Ty to know that "her potential is endless."

Crowds throng to Mall, ready to witness history

A heavy and steady stream of people is flooding the National Mall as the sun rises Monday, but there isn't the same early morning crush of humanity there was at this time four years ago for President Barack Obama's first inauguration.

With the main event hours away, people are having their pictures taken with a flag-draped Capitol building in the background.

Betsy Seeber of Doylestown, Pa.,, says, "I'm not a crowd person, and I was pretty astounded when they estimated there would only be 800,000."

It's cool and there's a steady breeze. Hand-warmers are being sold by street vendors three for five dollars. In 2009, when temperatures were in the 20s, vendors got $5 for each one.

Janice Boyd of Bentonville, Ark., says, "I'm cold, but we came prepared."

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved)