Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Where's Bill (& Elissa)

We DVRed CNN's coverage of the Inaugural festivities and watched it when we got back to Buffalo. It took some doing, but we WERE able to find ourselves in the crowd at The Inaugural Ball.

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Inaugural Ball

Once we were in out of the cold and through security, we waited in line (again) to check our coats. After that, we FINALLY walked into the ball.

It was in a HUGE room that was reminiscent of an airplane hanger. The Presidential Inaugural Committee had tried to spruce it up, but that was an impossible task. The stage looked nice.

In order to avoid long lines we walked as far away as possible to load up on pretzels (couldn't find the alleged Cheez-its) and get in a line to pay money to get tickets to wait in line again for drinks.

When we walked in, Brad Paisley was singing. After that, fun. played and got the crowd really into it. We could see CNN and other news media hanging towards the back of the hall. We squeezed our way through the crowd - just in time to be about 40 or 50 feet away from the President and First Lady as they were serenaded by Jennifer Hudson.

When they left, many people left and we moved closer to the stage. We were very glad we did because Stevie Wonder was up next and we ended up about 20 feet away from him. He played five or six songs and was just fabulous.

It started to get really hot all crammed in there and we left to move to a less crowded area. Awhile later, Jamie Fox came out to sing while the Vice President and his wife danced. A few members of the cast of Glee sang, and then John Legend sang.

We were out of energy and sat in the back. The crowd had thinned out considerably and we decided it was time to leave. We were able to get in line for coats before the big rush hit and off we went into the frigid night. We were able to flag down a taxi a few blocks away to take us back to the apartment. Both of us were too tired to go out to eat, so we ate the girls' leftover pizza and went to sleep.

Off to The Inaugural Ball

We made it back to the apartment and all of us plugged our phones in - since all of them had shut off. There were messages on Elissa's phone from WGRZ-TV, wanting to know about how the Inauguration went earlier that day. So, she called them back and our trip ended up on the news that evening.

WGRZ-TV report

We relaxed for a little bit and then got ready to head off to the ball. Bill and Allie went to get some supplies for the girls that night (they wanted to bake cookies while Bill and Elissa were off at the ball).

They opened the doors of the ball at 6:30 pm. We arrived around 7:30 pm and waited in line outside for almost an hour. Temperatures had dropped to about 25 degrees and it was very cold. Many women and men wore no coats and were freezing. The line wrapped around the building and went on for blocks and blocks. We almost bailed to go out to a nice, warm restaurant for dinner - but we stuck to it and were in the door by 8:15 pm.

Swearing-in ends, odyessy to get to our Parade seats begins - and ends.

The ceremony ended and we went on our way to find our seats for the parade. We knew we needed to stay on the National Mall side of Pennsylvania Avenue and the directions we were given were to take Constitution Ave up to 6th Ave. The problem was, it was blocked off and no one would let us through. We talked to several officers and Inauguration volunteers. All of them said we could not get through by going out through the Mall side. They said that Gray ticket holders could go through on the other side and then cross Pennsylvania Ave. We listened to them and headed out that way.

We waited in line at 6th Ave. and D St. for over an hour. The massive crowd did not move - except for those who gave up. Bill did some recon and we finally found out that the gate the next street over was less crowded. We went up to 7th Ave. and only had to wait 15 minutes to get in to the secure area around the parade.

We asked around and were told that security had been allowing people to cross the street to get to the other side. We ran into at least 20 other Gray ticket holders who were told the same thing we were and were now in the same predicament. It was 45 minutes before the parade was to begin and security refused to let anyone else go across. Media from South Korea and from other another news agency were also stuck. They were pretty assertive with the military personnel guarding the route and were also unsuccessful in being allowed to cross.

We paid $25/each ($100) for all of us to go to the parade and sit in bleachers. It was very, very frustrating and disappointing. We could see there were seats across from us in the bleachers we paid for and we couldn't get there.

You can see how far we are from the actual parade route

So, we were about six people deep waiting for the parade to begin. It didn't start until 3:15 pm (45 minutes late). The girls were tired of waiting and so we left as soon as the President's car went by and walked back to the apartment.

This was the one really disappointing part of the whole experience. Our daughters did not get to see the parade or President Obama walk (we had planned to sit where he walked) because of the miscommunication/misdirection of others.

Senator Schumer speaks

Later, Barack Hussein Obama became President of the United States for the next four years.


Once we went through a gate where they checked out tickets, we queued up to go through security. They had a large tent with lots of portable magnetometers for people to walk through.

After that, we saw members of the military lined up - awaiting the arrival of the President of the United States.

Then, we found signs indicating the area where we would watch the 57th Inauguration Ceremonies.



The Yellow section had many, many people in it already. We did what we could to find a good spot and then we waited over an hour for the ceremony to begin.

Our view of the Capitol and Inauguration Ceremonies
Bill and girls waiting to get the party started

The President waiting to be introduced
Elissa and Bill