From Misha Houser and BillÂ Spaulding at the Inauguration in Washington, D.C.
We arrived at the National Mall around 7am, after a brisk 2 mile walk from the last operating bus stop in Foggy Bottom (DC neighborhood). We walked to the ticketed section line and walked with approximately 200K of our closest friends… and I say closest because of the sheer number of tightly-packed bodies we progressed towards the security check-in at the Reflecting Pool area.
We were surprised to find that there was no “wading.” I held out my small purse for the security officer to feel. I opened my coat and was waved thru to the “Promised Land” of the Silver Ticket.Â Then we waited at yet another gate to get to the section closest to the Relecting Pool.
Now the fun begins as we race around the pen like fools trying to find the best spot. I was hobbling, having fallen near the Washington Monument shortly after arriving this morning. The folks we were walking with have allÂ been friendly and exuberant even though we were all freezing. The bad news was the the folks without tickets got hamburgers, soda, h2o, and snacks. We, the privileged ticket-holding crowd found nothing but port-a-potties in our section. We were told we couldn’t bring in food and drink – yet saw dozens of folks in our immediate area who had managed to sneak in water bottles.
About an hour into our vigils, thousands of people gave up and left the area, unable to put up with the bone-chilling cold and interminable standing.Â Our hand and foot warmer were not enough against the chill. We managed to find a spot where we had a fairly clear view of the Capitol stage. I’d say that maybe 1/3 of the expected crowd left before the actual swearing in ceremony, and many never made it thru the gates.Â
The scene was beautiful but the sound however was a little mushy and not as clear as we would have liked. Oh well, we were there – we witnessed history, and I’m off to find a bar where I can warm up.
We’ll have more later.