"To me, it's akin to when man landed on the moon," George Mitchell, a Tuskegee airman who lives in Webster, told The San Diego Union-Tribune. "It's something I never thought would happen, certainly not in my lifetime."
About 225 members of the all-black, World War II-era unit have accepted invitations to attend the inauguration on Tuesday.
"I can remember coming into Washington back in the '40s, and we couldn't get anything to eat at the diners," Mitchell told the newspaper. "We had to go around the corner, knock on a window and place our orders. They'd return with the food, hand it out the window and then you'd try to find someplace to squat and eat, usually in a doorway."
Dolores Van Rensalier, 68, said she sees in President-elect Barack Obama a struggle with racial identity similar to hers.
"I am so proud of my country," she told the newspaper.
Van Rensalier, who is of mixed race, grew up believing she was white.
"Due to the economic oppression of the times, my parents decided to pass for white and move from New York to San Diego," she said. "My birth certificate says I'm white and both parents are white."
But when she went to school, black classmates weren't fooled by her light skin and hazel-green eyes. She was taunted about pretending to be something she wasn't. At age 7, she was beaten up and held down by kids who tried to light her pigtails on fire.
At 17, she left home "to lead a black life," transferring from Mission Bay High School to San Diego High School and getting work as a live-in housekeeper.
She eventually learned that back in Paterson, N.J., her great-grandfather, William Van Rensalier, was a black abolitionist active with the Underground Railroad.
"Here was a man who was proud of all that I am, as well as all that he was -- and not just prideful, but committed to doing all he could to change racism in America," she said.
Thirty-four students from La Jolla Country Day School are going to Washington to record interviews for the school's new digital archive. While the mall is packed, they will ask people what it was like when they were teenagers.
"Our goal is to get people who were in their teen years for every year from 1945 to the present," said Jonathan Shulman, who heads the school's history department.
Geoff Patnoe of Tierrasanta has been to three other presidential inaugurations. The self-described political junkie voted for Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., but he still wants to be there.
Patnoe majored in political science, served as county Supervisor Dianne Jacob's chief of staff and is now president of a local government-relations firm, Public Policy Strategies.
"I enjoy being out there for it, seeing history happen," he said.
"This time, I think there is a certain buzz and excitement that you can even feel all the way in San Diego."
San Diego State University student Prince Sefa-Boakye, 19, and his family are going.
"I feel like this is a chance for the country to start over again and get it right," he told the newspaper, calling the inauguration "a-once-in-a-lifetime event."
About 240,000 tickets have been distributed for the inaugurations, but the national mall is expected to be jammed with many more people -- like Joseph Farmer, 55, of Oceanside.
Farmer, who's a member of the North County NAACP, said he was taking a tuxedo anyway.
Veterans are being honored across San Diego County during Memorial Day weekend and dozens of Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts were among those spending their Saturday placing American flags at burial sites at the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery.
Commencement was held Sunday for seniors at the University of San Diego, with ceremonies featuring a pair of distinguished alumni.
Cool and cloudy conditions start off Friday morning, but the sun will break through in the afternoon. Strong winds in San Diego County's deserts are also expected to ease up Friday morning.
A 30-year-old was knocked out and stabbed three times at the Beyer Trolley Station early Sunday morning, according to Officer Robert Heims of the San Diego Police Department.
A bird was responsible for an outage that left thousands without electricity Sunday, a San Diego Gas & Electric spokesperson said.
The remains of a U.S. Navy pilot killed when his plane was shot down during the Vietnam War have been brought to San Diego for burial.
In the wake of the Gate Fire, which ignited May 20, the Bureau of Land Management has issued new restrictions for Southern California counties, including San Diego.
With thousands of San Diegans expected to celebrate the holiday weekend at the beach, lifeguards are on high alert and a have a few warnings for those headed to the water.
U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-California, is scheduled to visit local Navy personnel in San Diego and Coronado next week, her office announced Saturday.
A 30-year-old Vista man was arrested for drunk driving and failure to yield Saturday morning after leading Carlsbad police on a high-speed pursuit that ended with the suspect crashing into a pole, according to authorities.