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VolcanoJen's Blue-Ticket-To-Nowhere Inauguration Adventure - Now, With Photos!!!

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VolcanoJen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 01:15 PM
Original message
VolcanoJen's Blue-Ticket-To-Nowhere Inauguration Adventure - Now, With Photos!!!
Edited on Sat Jan-24-09 02:13 PM by VolcanoJen
Hello everyone,

I realize it's a few days late, but here's the scoop on my Inauguration Day (Mis)Adventure!!

I was one of the Blue-ticketed people who never made it into the Inauguration Ceremony, or, as we like to call it, The Blue Ball Ticket To Nowhere! What a sad and unorganized mess that was. Just massive crowds, no security, no directions, no police presence, no nuthin'. We arrived at the Blue security entrance at 8:30 and waited patiently for three hours in the cold, packed in like penguins, moving forward toward the entrance maybe a few inches every fifteen minutes. Spirits remained high, though, and we chanted "Keep Hope Alive!" and "What's Going On!" at various intervals. At times, we helped clear paths and lift wheelchairs carrying disabled veterans up and out of the massive crowd; we even cleared a path so Tammy Duckworth could escape the masses. Around 11:30, however, the "line" broke down and the thousands behind us surged forward, scattering everyone else in all sorts of directions. In the crowd push, I ended up swept up to the left and face-planted into a tree. :o

Of course, realizing now we weren't going to see the Inauguration at all, and quite weary of crowds, we high-tailed it up and out of there, standing on 2nd Street behind the Capitol just as the cannon fire went off. Realizing Obama had finally just become President, we hugged and cried with strangers on the street, most of them dejected ticket-holders.

Following that, we were lucky enough to beat the crowd back up to Union Station and ducked into The Dubliner (where "Morning Joe" was filming all week) to lift a pint and a whiskey just in time to see Bush's helicopter lift off, and later, the take-off of FORMER (!!!) Air Force One. It was there that we first met and learned about our Brethren in Inauguration Solidarity, the Purple People stuck in "The Purple Ticket Tunnel of Doom," since the bar was packed with them, as well. They actually seem to have had it worse than we "Blue People" did. We joined in hearty choruses of "Na Na Hey Hey" and "There's No One More Irish Than Barack Obama." (short YouTube here, that's me from the side wearing the stars-n-stripes scarf!)

All in all, it was an absolute blast, and even though we were sorely disappointed to have had tickets and yet saw nothing, I'd still do it over again. It is a real testament to the character and jovial nature of the thousands of us in "line" that nothing awful happened. And celebrating on the street just yards away and later at an Irish bar packed with revelers? Well, that part didn't suck at all.

Here are some whacky pix of the madness and frivolity (all photos taken by Jim Saul, partner-in-Inaug-Shenanigans-Disappointment-Guiness-Lifting-Jameson Toasting-and-Patience; thank you, Jim!! Any times on photos are one hour off due to not resetting the timestamp):

Crowds arriving at Union Station, just before 8:00 am:





Blue "Line" started and continued here:









2nd Street and East Capitol as the cannons went off
(also note the color-coded ticket signage in background; that's about all the signage there was, sadly):



"Na Na, Hey Hey" and "There's No One As Irish As Barack Obama" at The Dubliner!!





After the party... the crowd at Union Station, waiting to catch our trains back:



And finally... Our now-infamous "Blue Ball" tickets, just silly souvenirs, superimposed over a satellite photo of the crowds:


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Fridays Child Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 01:24 PM
Response to Original message
1. The day after the inauguration, one blue ticket sold on eBay for $199.52.
Don't lose those tickets!
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EraOfResponsibility Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 01:28 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. yeah, you can make money off them joints
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VolcanoJen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 07:01 PM
Response to Reply #1
17. No chance I'll lose them!
My ticket has already moved into its new home, the "Obama Box O' Memories" I put together to save all my Obama campaign and Inauguration memorabilia. :-)

So much crap in there... the flag I got at a Joe Biden rally, programs, tickets, newspapers... and now my Inauguration Blue Ticket To Nowhere, my used Obama Metro pass, and one of the flags people waved like crazy on the National Mall during the swearing-in.

I'm a little Obama-nutty, I guess. :crazy:
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WolverineDG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 01:36 PM
Response to Original message
3. We ran into some Purple Ticket folks who didn't get in either
Turns out they were a group of school kids from Ohio who had come in on the bus that morning & were heading back home at 5 p.m. They were really disappointed, although they ended up somewhere near a jumbo tron on the Mall (but not close enough to hear anything). What I want to know is why they weren't prepared for the numbers of folks with tickets? Only a certain number of each color were given out; surely they could have planned better! I didn't hear of any silver tickets being turned away, & that was the largest group of ticket holders!

dg
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VolcanoJen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 01:40 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. The Silver Ticket People revolted.
Edited on Sat Jan-24-09 01:46 PM by VolcanoJen
The satellite photo taken at 11:19 am shows large swaths of the Blue, Purple and Silver areas still empty.

However, after arriving home and watching the entire thing on CNN, their crowd shots just before and after Noon show that while the Blue and Purple ticketed areas remained as empty as they did at 11:19, the Silver Area filled in. Everything I've read points to the "Silver People" revolting against security and rushing the barricades. I don't think that was a safe nor wise thing to do in that crush of humanity, but at least they got in, I suppose. The Blue & Purple People just walked away instead, bitterly disappointed, but in relative calm and peace.

Why the Capitol Police and Presidential Inauguration Committee weren't more prepared for the ticketed crowds, well, I'd like some answers, as would thousands of us. Every other color-coded ticket-holder made it in in plenty of time; why the crush only at the Blue, Purple and Silver areas? Walking away at 11:30, we passed the now-clear Orange Ticket checkpoint, while police officers just shrugged at us and refused to let anyone else in.

So many problems could have been solved with a simple bullhorn or two, giving us directions, telling us how better to line up, and letting non-ticketed people in line know they were in the wrong place. It was an Epic Fail and I do hope it is well-investigated so that it never happens again. If it were not for the good will of the people in our "Blue Ball," there could have been a disaster.

Imagine standing in a crush like that surrounded by Sarah Palin supporters we remember from the campaign, for example!! :scared: :scared: :scared:
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WolverineDG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 01:50 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. For those of us non-ticketed "rabble," it was just as dangerous
I would love to know the name of the genius who designed the maze of dead-ends with the porta-potties. Just about every logical way off of the Mall was blocked by lines of those damn things, & where there weren't porta-potties, there were fences & gates. Since everyone in my area was headed to the right (to the closest open metro station), we kept ending up at these freakin' dead ends & no way around the porta-potties or gates (unless you wanted to climb the damn things). Someone started yelling "GO LEFT! GO LEFT" but the people to the left refused to move. We'd get around one barrier only to be faced with another. :banghead: Fortunately, everyone remained calm, but had there been an emergency or panic, it would have been highly dangerous. It took me 2 hours to get from the Washington Monument to 17th & I Street NW.

Oh, and I also want the name of the brainiac who thought it would be a good idea to send the SAME FUCKING AMBULANCE up 18th Street...as if the crowd weren't moving slowly enough as it was, we had to keep stopping for this damn thing & of course its sirens were going off full-volume too.

I'm glad I went, but dammit, this incompetence in planning really gets to me.

dg
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VolcanoJen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 02:03 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. I've heard that as well.
Edited on Sat Jan-24-09 02:04 PM by VolcanoJen
:-( :-( :-(

Did non-ticketed revelers have to go through security, or not? I keep hearing conflicting accounts.

The security checkpoints at the end of the Blue and Purple "lines" also created a dangerous dead-end, especially when the decision was made to finally just close the gates and turn everyone away. We and the thousands behind us had no idea the gates were closed; everyone just kept trying in vain to move forward.

Speaking of ambulances, one "Purple Person" at The Dubliner told us that while trapped in the "Purple Tunnel Of Doom," everyone was forced to move quickly to the side as emergency vehicles made it up one side of the tunnel at speeds that were highly dangerous considering the crush of people. I've also read accounts on various websites that at times, these vehicles would slow down in the tunnel so emergency workers and volunteers could take photos of the soon-to-be-dejected ticket holders. Lovely.

Dead Ends in massive crowds can be perilous. Many answers are needed; I wonder if they are forthcoming. It is very clear by now that what was needed were even more law enforcement officers and volunteers to handle the ticketed checkpoints as well as the entry points to The Mall. There were dozens upon dozens of officers holding guard at Union Station, DuPont Circle, and the Parade Route; sadly, they were obviously needed more at the entry points than the places they were stationed. And, obviously, more bullhorns and signage were needed.

When we got stuck in the Second Great Crush at Union Station on the way out, for example, the crowds were just as bad and just as misinformed, but finally, police officers found bullhorns, stood up on barriers and at the entry points and kept us informed and calm. My hat is off to them for thinking quickly and keeping us informed, and doing their best to separate us into different lines although they, too, were operating without official instructions.
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WolverineDG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 02:15 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. I didn't see any security checkpoints
and I came onto the Mall at about 18th Street. Didn't see anyone directing the crowd on the way out either, & that really would have been helpful with all the "dead ends."

dg
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roseBudd Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 02:30 PM
Response to Reply #4
8. I don't know if you were at Nippert Stadium the Sunday before the election, but I was assigned
to work in front of the metal detectors and very disturbingly the Obama people made the decision to open them up and just let everybody through about a 45 minutes before Obama took the stage.

I think we can all agree we are thankful Secret Service did not do that on innauguration day.
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VolcanoJen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 02:57 PM
Response to Reply #8
10. Wasn't at Nippert, but I was at Ault Park.
Security was terrific and well-organized that day, fortunately.

Secret Service acted admirably on Inauguration Day, and you know what, so did the much-maligned Capitol Police. They were just overwhelmed, and by their personal accounts which are just now appearing on websites, our 2009 Inauguration Crowd was just night and day compared to prior Inaugurations. Their superiors, and the planners, have much to answer for. My hat is still off to the police officers who did their best that day under miserable conditions for them. It is certainly not their fault.

Hey, your new name is cute!! :-)

:hug: rosebud :hug:
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roseBudd Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 03:40 PM
Response to Reply #10
12. For some reason people knew not to bring bags to Ault Park, Nippert every other person had a big bag
that had to be searched.

The Obama people decided filling Nippert for the TV cameras was worth the security breach of letting the rest of the crowd in unsearched.

Yeah rosebud has always been taken by someone who must have stopped posting a long timw ago.

I was afraid if I picked something too different no one would know it was me.

Hey are you on Face Book? PM me if you are I have a Face Book group that is secret called Writers for Obama

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Kukesa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 06:03 PM
Response to Reply #4
16. Sarah Palin supporters? Scary, indeed. n/t
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zulchzulu Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 03:20 PM
Response to Reply #4
25. I was a Silver Ticket holder and it was a matter of luck we got in
My friend and I had gotten in line at about 7:30... or should I say, gotten to the place where the line started and just went on and on for blocks to where we got near the end, right near 3rd and Independence. That's when the security people (all two of them) said that where we were was the new access point. It suddenly was like a stampede to an area that we all then stood for a couple hours. People were jumping the fence as well as a lot of people who weren't ticket holders joined in.

When We got to the security post, all they were doing was checking bags... not tickets. From there, it was pretty dang crowded... here's my video of the event: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6pehW81Y0lg

Sorry you got locked out of the proceedings... I know there were a lot of purples and silvers who didn't get to see it too.

K&R
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CaliforniaPeggy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 02:33 PM
Response to Original message
9. My dear VolcanoJen!
I am so sorry, sweetie, that you didn't get in...

That has to be a huge disappointment...

I would be livid!

I was hoping to see you at the Dove & Hawk Monday night, when LynneSin had the DU meetup...

Alas...

Still, it was an historic moment, and you were there!

:hug:

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VolcanoJen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 03:00 PM
Response to Reply #9
11. I'm not livid. Disappointed, but not livid.
I was a little emotional at the time, but still, WE WERE THERE!!! And we "experienced" everything even if we didn't "see" anything!

Sorry about missing the DU Meetup!! I texted mopinko to let her know I wouldn't make it... I took too much time over at the Liaison Hotel doing my Radio Row bit for THE AWESOME FOLKS at Progressive Blend Radio!

I'll try again at Obama's 2nd Inauguration!!!! :-) :-) :-)

:hug: My Dear CaliforniaPeggy! :hug:
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undergroundrailroad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 08:05 PM
Response to Reply #11
19. Jen,
I know how you feel. I was extremely disappointed.

After we (Mom with me) emerged from the 3rd street tunnel, we were not allowed in. But we saw the capital (and heard the audio) soaked it all in and, yes, WE WERE THERE!

:hi:
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VolcanoJen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 12:31 PM
Response to Reply #19
21. Oh no!! You too??!??
So very sorry, undergroundrailroad. Of course I understand the crushing disappointment. It felt a little overwhelming for me, as I'm sure it did for you and your sweet Mom, when you first accepted the fact that we weren't going to get to see it.

How wonderful though to read so many people say that it's OK, though. We Were There!!!

:hug: undergroundrailroad :hug:

PS Can you believe it!!??!??!!?? We've come a long way, baby!
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Zomby Woof Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 04:38 PM
Response to Original message
13. Kickity kick
:bounce:
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VolcanoJen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 04:45 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. Well....
.... that's gotta be the most profound name-change yet, during this, the Once-Every-Four-Years DU Name Change Amnesty Period. ;-)

Thanks for the kick!! :hug: :hug: :hug:
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Zomby Woof Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 12:37 PM
Response to Reply #14
22. I needed more space
Nyuk nyuk nyuk

:evilgrin:

(It now has actual fidelity to the song title from which I stole it, so there!) :P

Anytime Jen Jen! :hug: :hug:
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Kukesa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 03:10 PM
Response to Reply #13
24. And one from me, as well. Love your new name, Mr. Woof! n/t
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FrenchieCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 05:20 PM
Response to Original message
15. I can imagine how disappointing that must have been......
I hope Y'all ticket holders get invited to the White House for something special..... :hug:
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TZ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 07:13 PM
Response to Original message
18. I heard about that.
I had no ticket and had a better experience than you. Got to the Mall early enough to get close enough to a jumbotron to hear well even if I couldn't see much. I got caught in a few pushy mobs (mostly leaving) but overall I had a decent experience.
The problem was that DC is just NOT set up to handle that many people...and they knew it..and were warning people that there likely would be problems. Hell my workplace in Montgomery County closed for fear of people getting caught in horrid commutes..I think security was stretched thin AND I heard that metal detectors stopped working..and there was NO WAY ticket holders were gonna get in without being screened.
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VolcanoJen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 02:16 PM
Response to Reply #18
23. So many DCers I know told me this could happen
It's pretty interesting, in retrospect. DCers I know were bitching that the Presidential Inaugural Committee and the DC and Capitol Police were scaring people away in the weeks leading up to the Inauguration.

I can honestly only add this, tongue firmly in cheek:

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Kukesa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 08:35 PM
Response to Original message
20. Celebrating in the Dubliner must have been fun. n/t
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fortyfeetunder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 03:23 PM
Response to Original message
26. Great story, sorry you didn't make it in!
Sorry you didn't make it in to see it up front. But glad you had a good time. The crowds!!!!
Maybe we ought to aim for Obama 2012!
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VolcanoJen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-26-09 11:38 AM
Response to Reply #26
27. Obama 2012 for sure.
At least I know what *not* to do now!! Skip the tix and head for the Mall, baby!! :-)
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