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Some Turn Around, Head Home Early

It appears that some people have already had enough.

A steady trickle of people was emerging from the Franconia-Springfield Metro station by mid-morning, fighting the crowds heading in.

Some had already been to the Mall and were fleeing because they had gotten too cold. "We basically froze to death," said Lisa Lewis, 40, of Rochester, N.Y., who was clutching her 4-year-old daughter and shivering as she left the station around 9:45 a.m.

"Even though we come from a cold area," she said, "we didn't realize just how cold it was going to be here."

Around 11:15 a.m., Jenny Nelson, 29, was back at 14th and U Streets NW. "We gave up," said Nelson, who made it to the mall at 7 a.m., after rolling out of bed at 5:30 am, skipping a shower and walking to the Mall.

"We just wanted to get near a Jumbotron and we couldn't do that," Nelson said. "We didn't want to miss the speech." Around 9:15, she and her friends decided to head home, where her roommates were cooking breakfast. "At least we were here and we were a part of it."

Lannis and Gwen Thomas and Monica and Dana Pittman came all the way from St. Petersburg, Fla., by way of charter bus, then stood in the crowds on the Mall for nearly four hours. But just after 11 a.m., the freezing temperatures driving them back to a shuttle bus.

As they trudged back to their charter bus in the RFK Stadium parking lot, they were resigned to having missed the inauguration entirely. "It was just too cold, just too cold for us," said Gwen Thomas.

(This post has been updated.)

-- Pamela Constable, Kristen Mack and Matt Zapotosky

By Washington Post Editors  |  January 20, 2009; 12:12 PM ET
Categories:  Inauguration  
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Comments

We all knew it was going to be cold today. Who brought the coacoa, hot chow, and hot toddies? Where are the food vendors? I hear the mall is packed, probably because it is warm...

Posted by: max1mos111 | January 20, 2009 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Well, cold is cold regardless of where you are. People were given ample warning that the weather would be cold. I can't imagine how crowded the Smithsonian museums are right about now.

Posted by: justhere | January 20, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

How can anyone think it is ok to take their 4 year old child out into 20 degree weather, at 4 in the morning and expect to be able to sit there for 8 hours? Geez.

Posted by: jjtwo | January 20, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

WHY WOULD YOU TAKE A 4 YEAR OLD OUT IN THIS WEATHER TO SATND AROUND ALL MORNING/DAY? AND THE SAD TRUTH IS THERE ARE MORE LIKE HER WHO HAVEN'T LEFT AND ARE STLL OUT THERE WITH YOUNG CHILDREN!

Posted by: oda155 | January 20, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

"How can anyone think it is ok to take their 4 year old child out into 20 degree weather, at 4 in the morning and expect to be able to sit there for 8 hours?"

These are the same parents that let their kids wear shorts and t-shirts (and nothing else) on 30 degree days. Yeesh!

Posted by: novatom1 | January 20, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

This is the first year in a long time I will not be at the Mall for an inauguration. At least this one on TV will be a big Hi Def screen unlike that enormous 13" black and white TV I had when I watched Eisenhower's first inauguration. Now after having spent 22 years living "inside the Beltway" I can not stress how many times I have told visiting friends how to dress for the cold. Your are in a tidal estuary and it is very damp so you have to dress in layers. Next you do what I did and that is find the Porta Johns and set your self up near them. That way when you have to go you can jump in line and go before the pain sets in. It is also a good wind break. Next always carry a roll of TP for yourself because when it's gone it is gone plus get some hand sanitizer to bring along. By the way go to the bathroom just before noon time because afterwards it will really be mobbed. Don't expect to jump right onto the local Metro to go home because you are better off walking to Georgetown or some other location and getting in doors and sitting down to a meal before attempting to go home. For those people thinking that every one of the inaugural ball locations will have every person of importance there be prepared to be sadly mistaken.

Posted by: cavman1 | January 20, 2009 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Are YOU smarter than a four year old? Obviously this girl's mother is not.

Posted by: PGirl | January 20, 2009 11:14 AM | Report abuse

This didn't deserve a blog post.....of course there are peeps who will eventually have to leave due to the cold.....

I am comfortably in my living room doing work and watching it in HD......I'll goto the parade later....less hectic...less cold....

Posted by: goosedude | January 20, 2009 11:49 AM | Report abuse

How can anyone think it is ok to take their 4 year old child out into 20 degree weather, at 4 in the morning and expect to be able to sit there for 8 hours? Geez.
--------------

Momma watches her autographed copy of An Inconvenient Truth every day.

I wonder if her light bulb has come on yet?

Posted by: ObamaBiden | January 20, 2009 11:49 AM | Report abuse

"How can anyone think it is ok to take their 4 year old child out into 20 degree weather, at 4 in the morning and expect to be able to sit there for 8 hours?"
---------------

Momma watches her autographed copy of An Inconvienent Truth every day.

Posted by: ObamaBiden | January 20, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

...you haters need to get a life. Just think that if McCain had won you would have had no trouble getting a front-row seat.

Posted by: dubya19391 | January 20, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

No worries Barack will fix this global warming problem by next week.

Posted by: DCTT | January 20, 2009 1:43 PM | Report abuse

"At least we were here and we were a part of it."


Idiots - they were a part of it when they VOTED!!!

Posted by: gm123 | January 20, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

We left early too. Too cold. BITTERLY cold.

Posted by: Bitter_Bill | January 20, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

"...you haters need to get a life. Just think that if McCain had won you would have had no trouble getting a front-row seat.

Posted by: dubya19391 | January 20, 2009 12:53 PM "

Sorry to burst your bubble, but I'm a Dem who votes for President Obama... I was born and raised in DC but I currently live in Minnesota, where by the way 20 degrees is not considered "bitterly cold"...OK. No, why aren't YOU on the Mall enjoying the festivities and the cold air? Think before you open your trap.

Posted by: oda155 | January 20, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

I arrived on-foot at 7th and E at 7:15 a.m. We - absolutely hundreds of us - were thoroughly stopped there, for unknown reasons, with no communication from authorities (there were rumors the Mall was full, that a water main broke, that it was for ticketed folks only). At about 8:30 a.m., the authorities allowed a bus (yes, a bus) to turn onto 7th from E street. This created a surge of humanity to 7th and D, where we were stopped again at what appeared to be the security tent. Again - no communication. It was incredibly frustrating, and that's a shame given the new dawn in America.

Posted by: fredw34907 | January 20, 2009 2:08 PM | Report abuse

To dubya19391... I also need to add, that while 20 degrees is OK for an adult to stand around in for hours it is not something you want to submitt your 4 year old to endure, regardless of how well dressed you think they are.

Posted by: oda155 | January 20, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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