Once in a Lifetime Opportunity

I can’t imagine traveling cross-country to attend a presidential inauguration, but it was the opportunity of a lifetime while I am living 15 blocks from the Capitol.  Plus Evan, who is now the Director of the Senate Budget Committee, was able to get seated tickets about 50 rows from the front of the action.

Capitol from Seats

It is still about 100 yards from the podium, but much better than most of the estimated one million viewers who stretched all the way to the Washington Monument.

crowd toward memorial 2

It was an eclectic crowd and the celebratory mood of those around us was infectious, which made us quickly forget the hassle of the massive lines to get through the metal detectors.

Crowd to metal detectors

One couldn’t ask for a better view of the inauguration.  We knew people who had trees that blocked their view and many people could not get into the Orange ticketed section because it was full. You could  actually see the Vice President and President take the oath of office.

Biden oathPresident oath

But we still spent much of the time looking at the “Jumbotrons”, which allowed all million people to have a close-up view.


As much as being at the inauguration, I enjoyed walking the area the day before – minus the million people.  Signs of the impending event were everywhere.  Private houses were decorated:

Decorated House

Streets were vacated.  What fun to walk down the middle of Constitution and Pennsylvania Avenues without any cars.

empty Constitution aveEmpty Penn Ave

As I walked along Pennsylvania, you could hear the choir practicing for the big event the next day.  The thousands of white and black chairs of the seated area just in front of the Capitol were ready for the crowd-to-come.

Choir Practice

There were more Porta Potties on The Mall than I have ever seen before.

porta poties in front of air and space

Lione of Porta Poties

Preparations for the parade were equally frantic as for the inauguration.  Cameras being made ready.  Flags and other decorations to place along the route.  DC politicians ready to make a statement about taxes and representation. And finally the pavilion for the First Family to watch the parade.Camera ready


Putting up bunting

tax without rep sign

DC Viewing Area

President viewing area

I am a person who thinks the best place to see the Super Bowl or other big events is from the comfort of the couch in front of a large-screen TV, so I suspect that will be my plan for future inaugurations.  But it was a perfect way to spend the day — to hear the president speak of policies aligned with my beliefs and spend time with my son.

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2 Responses to Once in a Lifetime Opportunity

  1. Oh Dennis, this was a wonderful blog – and is probably the closest i will ever come to an inaugeration. Thank you for sharing it with us all. i loved the pictures. This has to be an exciting time to be in DC! Do continue writing these blogs; it’s a fascinating perspective for those of us who’ll probably never get the opportunity to live and work in our nation’s capital. Cheers and thanks,


  2. Dennis: Another fabulous edition of the Dennis Schatz blog. Thanks so much for sharing your experiences. Wonderful! Looking forward to seeing you in the “real” Washington soon. 😉 Cam

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