Well, I’m back. Sorry to folk who were linked here from Jeff and Jeremy. I had more limited computer access than I had anticipated. We returned home Saturday night, barely beating “The Great Snow Storm of aught-5”. Literally within 15 minutes of coming come I was overtaken by chills and fever, still am ill, and the trip from my bed to the computer is the longest I have made in nearly 48 hours.

The Presidential Inauguration was for us an experience we will always remember. Without sounding corny, it was the type of thing that inspired you as a citizen. Also it was cold, bone-chilling, it-doesn’t matter if I have four layers on cold. But we are thrilled that we were there with the masses.

Here is a personal run-down on the day:
8:30 – Leave our friend’s home in Vienna, VA on the Metro train for D.C. – the trains were full and folks were singing hymns, we were going to a Republican Inauguration indeed
9:30 – Meet my Congressman, Bob Inglis, at his office building. Our “yellow card” tickets were from himEven though I interned for him 8 years ago, I think of him now as more of a leader in church than anything. We also met our friends from Philadelphia, the Keene’s.
10:00 – began trek to our access point for our tickets, only three security check-points, cold, wet floors are no fun when you are forced to take your shoes off
10:30 – 12:30 – reach our spot in front of the Capitol about 100 yards from the Speaker’s dais, very good-natured crowd, lots of Service-Academy folks standing near us, we counted at least 5 snipers on the Capitol dome, good natured boos when John Kerry was introduced, the same type of boos you hear when an opposing team enters an arena – all in good fun and he smiled at it, less strong boos at HILLARY! Rodham Clinton, muffled applause for Mr. Clinton and Mr. Carter, cheers for #41 Bush, louder ones for W.’s mom, the music was a little odd, enjoyed the Lawrece Welk guy’s rendition of the Ashcroft song the most, Hastert mangled the oath and Cheney corrected him twice, the Chief Justice (CJ) – looking thin and with a hoarse voice administered the oath with every digital camera raised high in the air, ever heard a 100,000 gloved hands clap? – that’s the sound after the swearing-in and 21 gun salute, the President’s speech went over well among the crowd, I immediately predicted the various groups that would hate it
12:30 – 2:30 – Trying to find lunch, ran across our first protestors of the Christian Reconstruction type whose signs said Bush’s sin was the cause of 9/11, tried to eat at a Tex/Mex place but the wait was 90 min. long, ate at Subway instead – Boxing promoter Don King in line with us,
2:30 – 5:30 took the Metro to Federal Triangle to watch the parade, informed that the wait to get through security was two hours (parade ended in 2.5 hours), saw some anti-Bush protestors of the He lied, thousands died ilk (Protesting appears to be a recognized industry in DC), our friend Kathryn talked us into a Parade-watch party hosted by the Traditional Values Coalition on the second floor of the Ronald Reagan building with a balcony overlook on Penn. Ave., spent the Parade eating “W” cookies, drinking warm coffee and tiramasu, sat next to D. James Kennedy, Texas A&M had the most professional and loud band, Tennessee’s band played Rocky Top for a 2 mile march, we went outside on to Penn. Ave. and followed the tail end of the parade up to the White House gates, security was relaxed which is why Karl Rove was 10 feet away from me with no security

Wonderful day indeed. After a contentious election, it all comes down to a ceremony that has the same elements as something you might see at a local courthouse. The overall inaugural ceremony had many of the same elements as a church service. It’s a shame to see Washington with concrete barricades and fences everywhere. The few protestors I saw (where I was) were more objects of curiosity for the crowd – many had their pictures taken as souvenirs. As cold as it was, it was a worthwhile experience, regardless of the President, to see this nation’s citizens together to just watch and observe.

I’ll write more of the Bush’s speech and such later, which as I expected has caused quite a many discussions.