Official Inauguration invitation
Inauguration program and ticket
Picking up tickets this year was far easier than the 2009 inauguration. This year they let you into your Congressman’s (or Congresswoman’s in my case) office to pick up your packet. This year’s tickets were courtesy of Congresswoman Terri Sewell in Alabama, by way of my best friend Tim Reeves. I got there at 11:30, was out by 12. Took a quick stroll through the Capitol grounds to see the prep work while I was there.
It’s been four years since this blog was updated. It’s now 2013, and time to attend the Inauguration for our re-elected President Barack Obama. A lot has changed personally, I’ve moved here now so look at things from a local’s perspective, I’m no longer fearful of crowds and public transit.
You can look back through the old posts for 2009 info, I’ll be updating with 2013 items from here forward.
Of note below: collectors items from 2009. Newsweek ceased publication in 2012. The Inauguration issue below is now even more of a collector’s piece.
In the chilly weather (a 19 degree wind chill, high of 36) Alaina and I managed to brave all day outdoors. We were not cold, until the end – when our hand warmers ran out and the wind was whipping our layers off.
These shots, taken by Alaina, really represent ‘the best of’ our time on Inauguration day .. from the line debacle, the mad dash for a spot, ticket poses, etc. Enjoy them as much as we enjoyed making them!
After the ceremony was kind of…weird. The Capitol grounds emptied out so quickly, but we were still able to see the amount of insanity that was behind us at the National Mall. From our monument, we could see straight back into the Mall area towards the National monument, we could also see straight down Pennsylvania Avenue. The small reflecting pool had frozen over, and daredevils were crossing it on foot. We also ventured into the front of the purple section, only to find empty chairs and lawn – it looked more like a tornado had hit than a moment in history.
Two teenie-boppers next to us were squealing over the Blake Lively, Gossip Girl star sitting on the monument behind us, along with Mac-Computer commercial star (and Die Hard 4 and Ed star, Drew Barrymore-ex bofriend) Justin Long. I scoured my photos to see if I had them in any of my shots … and I did! So of course, I emailed to my favorite Queen of All Media Perez Hilton from my iPhone while at the event… and he used my photo on his SITE!! I am on Perez’s web site and I almost fell out. (Here is the link: http://perezhilton.com/2009-01-20-spot-the-celebs) So, seeing as how the post immediately after mine is about Twilight star Robert Pattison (Edward Cullen), that technically makes me 1 degree of separation from him. Eeeeee!!
Words can not express what it is like to walk through those security checkpoints, run for God knows how long and see the Capitol building there … in all its glory. Looking around, everyone already had their places staked – climbing trees and standing atop portapotties.
Well, for us in our 8 layers, that was not an option. But, we did trample a security fence and stake our own spot in the ‘cabbage patch’ at the Marine monument on the Northwest side of the Capitol where Pennsylvania Avenue dead ends into the circle at 1st avenue. From there, there were people that had climbed the monument itself (two of them celebrities, see next post) .. and I felt like I could actually see SOMETHING – the Capitol building, the jumbotron in the very far front right, and the platform itself – although there was a tree in front of our view of the Prez. We heard everything perfectly, and I have a video of the entire oath of office and the speech proceeding it. I was very unhappy with the boos from the crowd when Obama mentioned George Bush’s service to America – as much as I may have disagreed with his direction, it does not mean he didn’t sacrifice his life and time for the advancement of America. And to that I thank him.
We arrived at our spot at the exact moment Aretha Franklin started singing My Country Tis of Thee … and immediately I started tearing up. All of the stress of getting to this point faded away, and I was overcome. People next to me were crying. Kids were saying God Bless America to their parents and singing at the top of their lungs. That, hands down, was when I really understood what our country is all about.
TV doesn’t do it justice. It can’t give you the feeling you get there. You can’t feel it. For everyone who says ‘that’s blown out of proportion’ or that it looks like a nightmare – that all goes away the second you are on that hill, in your own little piece of American history – scratch that – world history. I have never been so moved as I have today.
I will say one thing: public safety at the Inauguration was the topic of conversation over the last few months. But, there’s a difference between putting public safety plans into a working order and inducing a mob-mentality.
Here is a sniper I saw atop a rooftop near our line waiting to get in… this was at 8:35 a.m. outside the Purple Gate at Lousiana and 2nd Street.
So we made out way out of the Apartment in Capitol Hill at around 7:45 – 8am and walked around the Capitol building to our ‘designated gate’ where large signs were pointing us where to go. That was nice, everyone knew where they were going…UNTIL… you get there.
All of the lines converged on each other — yellow ticket holders were in a line that blocked entryway into Purple ticket holder’s gates and line. When we finally made it to our ‘gate’ – we still had to find the line out of the mass of people gathered in a huge bottleneck before us. So we made our way down there – only to stop and filter in at what we thought was the halfway point. I wouldn’t say we cut in line, we just made the line a little wider. Well, apparently everyone else had the same idea, just further up the line than we were, which left us at the back, technically – but not at the very back.
We waited there for an eternity – and about 1.5 hours into it we had been pushed up against the large black-grated fences. The fences were running parallel to the 12 security checkpoints inside the gates, and the fence couldn’t be passed through, but ran you to the ‘funnel point’ (aka funnel of death) where you supposedly showed your ticket and moved into the secured perimeter and got ‘k-9’d’, and had to empty your pockets, etc. It didn’t take long to get frustrated, and even trying to stay positive turned nightmarish for even the most optimistic of attendees. We watched, faces planted against the fence for the better part of 3 hours in the cold – as person after person went in, and our line moved maybe a foot every 20 minutes. We knew if we could just turn the corner and get to the funnel point, we had a chance – but at that point (about 50-60 yards from the funnel point) we saw the motorcade swoop into the Capitol area and the crowds went crazy. We knew the show was starting, and we were not even through the gates.
I saw a lady get trampled. I was almost trampled. We had to make it. I am only 4’11, so I couldn’t see anything other than that gate the whole time (and the copy of some pieces of LAKE Magazine I saw inside the gates … seen at left). People were shouting ‘LET US IN! LET US IN!’ or PURPLE! PURPLE! YES WE CAN! YES WE CAN! – This couple from New york were yelling at the officers as they passed on the other side of the fence demanding to know what was going on…everytime they did, the people around them (including me) got more and more restless..and more and more on edge. When I saw the motorcade go through and heard the ceremony start, I started crying … I couldn’t believe I had made it that far, only to not make it in the gate. I started yelling at people blocking the gates that had been let in, only to have their party left behind them outside – and they wouldn’t let anyone else in until they made it through the security checkpoints.
But at last, a surge of movement pushed us around the corner … and we were spit out the other side of the funnel point. When we got there I looked over to the fence, only to see thousands of people still pressed against the fences – with no chance of getting in to see it in time.
We made our way through the security checkpoint in literally 1 minute – all I had to do was empty my pockets if you believe that. No frisking, not even a sniff from the K9. Then we high-tailed it to our section in a dead sprint.