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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Streets were vacated. What fun to walk down the middle of Constitution and Pennsylvania Avenues without any cars.
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.
There were more Porta Potties on The Mall than I have ever seen before.
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.
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.