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Another for the inaugural checklist: posing with the Obama portrait

Shepard Fairey unveils his portrait of President-elect Barack Obama before it was installed at the National Portrait Gallery

Shepard Fairey stood next to his iconic portrait of Barack Obama in the airy courtyard of the National Portrait Gallery, the museum where the portrait will now reside.

Up close, it is surprisingly more textured than it looks in the postcards and photos.

Symbols and words are stenciled subtly on newsprint that serves as the canvas for the actual portrait.

At a Saturday reception where it was unveiled, guests snapped pictures of themselves standing next to the portrait -- one more documentation of their time at the inauguration.

Yolanda Parker, founder and owner of KMS, a software company in Los Angeles, took in the scene.  She was on Obama's National Finance Committee. ("I raised about a million dollars," she answered quietly when asked.)

There is no event here she will miss. "As long as my body will hold out, I'm going to everything," she said.

And, of course, she will be on the Mall for the inauguration. It is, for her, a momentous return.

"I was here in 1963 for the March on Washington. I was 18 years old, and here I am back," she said, her eyes suddenly welling with tears. "I'm sorry," she said, blinking and wiping at her eyes.

Then she grinned as she told the story of hearing Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I have a dream" speech that day on the Mall.

"My older sister and I got up at 6 a.m. to go there," recalled Parker who lived as a child in suburban Maryland.  "It was hot. It was crowded. I fainted! I watched the most famous speech in the world from the Red Cross tent."

No doubt she will hold up better on Tuesday.

-- Carla Hall

Photo: Shepard Fairey unveils his portrait of President-elect Barack Obama before it was installed at the National Portrait Gallery. Credit: Jewel Samad / AFP / Getty Images

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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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