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Sen. Feinstein: Purple and Blue Ticket-holders Will Receive Special Souvenirs (*Updated)

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif) will be distributing packages that include a souvenir program, color photos of President Obama and other memorabilia to people with tickets who were not admitted to the swearing-in ceremony Tuesday, according to an email sent to congressional staff from the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies.

The statement instructs congressional offices to take the names of frustrated ticket-holders and tell the callers that the packages will be available next week. The announcement was sent to the Washington Post from a federal government source, who had a copy of the email.

Feinstein is the chair of the inaugural committee and she has launched an investigation into why thousands of ticket-holders stood in line for hours but still were not admitted.

Here's the full announcement:

The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, chaired by Senator Dianne Feinstein, will have packets of the 56th Inaugural commemorative programs, invitations, photos of the President and Vice President and a full color print of the Ceremony.
These packets will be distributed to constituents and guests who were purple ticket holders (or other ticket holders) and denied access to the Inauguration ceremony.
These packets should be available within the next week.
If you are receiving calls or emails, please direct them to feedback@jccic.senate.gov. If they leave their name and address, the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies will send them an apology and this packet.

Update 9:54 p.m.: Feinstein issued the following statement tonight about the ticket problems:

“Today I met with Mark Sullivan, Director of the Secret Service, Philip D. Morse, the Chief of the Capitol Police, and Terrence Gainer, Senate Sergeant at Arms, along with other law enforcement officials to discuss the 56 th Presidential Inaugural Swearing-In Ceremony.
An unprecedented number of people, estimated at nearly two million, converged on the National Mall area for this ceremony, and there was not one major arrest or injury at the event, apart from various medical emergencies. All law enforcement agencies worked very hard to keep the nation’s capital safe during this historic event, and they deserve our thanks. But the purpose of the discussion today was to learn more about what led to thousands of people not being able to get into their designated ticketed areas.
It is clear that there were significant problems with managing crowds, especially in the Third Street Tunnel and the agencies involved are in the process of sorting out exactly what happened. There will be an after-action report compiled, not to cast blame, but to help us understand what mistakes were made so that we can make sure they are not repeated at future Inaugurals.”

By David A Nakamura  |  January 22, 2009; 5:29 PM ET  | Category:  Crowds , Security , Souvenirs , Swearing-in Ceremony , Tickets
Previous: Reps. George Miller and Chris Van Hollen Want Answers on Ticket Meltdown | Next: Poll: Purple Ticket Restitution

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Am I the only Blue ticket recipient who received that souvenir packet when I picked up my (worthless) inauguration tickets? Senator Feinstein and President Obama: How about we just arrange for access to a future Obama speech and call it even? It's not like he's never going to give another speech in public, right?

Posted by: seth76 | January 22, 2009 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Are you kidding me?!?! We received all that crap in a packet along with our infamous purple tickets, what are they thinking?? As if adding a color portrait of the event we TOTALLY missed is going to make us feel any better!! Unreal!

Posted by: purplegloom | January 22, 2009 6:30 PM | Report abuse

I got this stuff when I picked up my Purple ticket. I think that seth76 has the best solution -- access to an Obama speech near us when he visits.

Posted by: MVTer | January 22, 2009 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Uh.... how about no trinkets. People should accept that life happens and just move on.

Posted by: gth1 | January 22, 2009 7:02 PM | Report abuse

Every American should be able to receive one of these packets, not just the fat cats who got the tickets in the first place.

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | January 22, 2009 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Wow...how oblivious these officials are when they don't even realize that we ALREADY have this stuff. What a complete joke. No wonder the inauguration was such a mess behind the scenes when these morons were in charge of it. I cannot even bring myself to watch the inauguration yet. It would have been SO much better to just stay home and watch it on tv than feel the profound disappointment that I am still feeling.

Posted by: mchoco | January 22, 2009 7:13 PM | Report abuse

Also, PowerBoater, these were not "fatcats". These were volunteers who worked hard for the campaign, these were every day people (like ourselves) who scrambled to raise the money to go to DC when we were told that we had been chosen for tickets, these were decendants of slaves who were dressed in their best closed to witness the swearing in of our next President. Unless you were there, you have no idea what it was like.

Posted by: mchoco | January 22, 2009 7:34 PM | Report abuse

Far far too little too late! Now it's wasting taxpayers money that will never be able to take away the feelings of disappointment. We were failed, saddened, humiliated, and tramatized. This token will NEVER ever take it away. I wonder what's going to happen when re-election time comes around for members of the JCCIC? They will be re-elected of course!

By the way, PowerBoater69, not all ticket holders were "fat cats" but just average citizens from across the United States of America.

Posted by: Mikefrom8thdistrict | January 22, 2009 7:37 PM | Report abuse

Senator Feinstein, you're joking right? Why not just send all of us a complimentary bottle of Thorazine--you'll accomplish your aim of stunning and subduing all of us "ticket to nowhere" holders much more efficiently and completely... Although I'm not sure how much more I can be stunned by the handling of this situation.
This gesture/consolation prize is not the answer. It feels like a booby prize, just like our useless tickets did on Tuesday.

Posted by: lbeckwith | January 22, 2009 8:19 PM | Report abuse

I just want them to fix it such that it never happens again. DC residents should be fearful that these law enforcement officials are charged with protecting us. I'm worried.

Posted by: MVTer | January 22, 2009 8:36 PM | Report abuse

I feel for the ticket holders that did not get in. I am glad you will get (or already have) your Souvenirs.

Why isn't anyone talking about the fiasco on the mall at 14th and Independence. Sure, these were not the special, elite ticket holders. They were just citizens without connections, but wanted to experience the event.

Look at the 11:19 satellite photo of the area. There must be 3 or 4 times more affected people in the photo than those at the ticketed security gates. It appears that the police directed everyone coming from L'Enfant west, into a bottle neck entrance to the Washington Monument. This appears to be the densest area in the whole town. With in a few hundred yards there were hundreds of acres of basically empty mall. Why weren't the people allowed an alternate entrance to the Mall? Thankfully I had no issues entering the mall from Federal Triangle, but I exited by 14th and Independence and it was insane.

Was anyone there that can comment on what happened?

Posted by: bobestes | January 22, 2009 8:43 PM | Report abuse

How about they find a way to offer a tax credit to those affected for some portion of their travel expense?

Posted by: glickdaddy | January 22, 2009 8:44 PM | Report abuse

I think you call this getting the Purple Shaft.
Now the question is will they foul up the distribution of this junk?

Posted by: joebstewart | January 22, 2009 9:07 PM | Report abuse

I just sent an email to the address listed in the story. The Committee did not tell; the mailbox is full and will not accept any more messages!

On Tuesday I was disappointed and sad. Today I am disgusted. I don't want a packet; I want a complete and honest explanation and, most important, an apology.

Posted by: elizabethoc | January 22, 2009 9:43 PM | Report abuse

I'm just another of the "Blue People" who waited hours in line and never saw anything. There we were, so close, and yet so far.

Fleeing the Blue line after the big crush came (and after I was face-planted into a tree), we looked in vain for somewhere to watch it on TV, when we heard the cannons fire, and knew Obama was now the President. Hugging and crying with other dejected Blue People in that street wasn't the Inauguration memory I had anticpated, but it was still a precious one.

Still, I'm insulted by Sen. Feinstein's statement, and feel that we need real answers about what happened to us, and a sincere and meaningful apology from all involved, not some trinket. To have traveled so far, to have spent all that hard-earned money on accomodations, to have felt so special, to have been so excited to have received a Blue ticket in the first place, only to experience heartbreak in the Blue "Line." I'll never be able to go back and correct that, and it happened to so many thousands of us (I stand in solidarity with my Purple Brethren!), and we deserve so more than we've heard so far.

And honestly, Sen. Feinstein and PIC? You can keep your "packet." It's the same thing we all received when we got our Awesome Tickets. Grrrr.

Posted by: CincyJen | January 22, 2009 11:47 PM | Report abuse

Seriously...if you get a nice apology will you promise to go away and SFTU already? Yes, we understand that you worked hard on the campaign. Yes, we know that many of you traveled long distances to get to DC. Yes, we know that you spent money that could have gone to groceries or rent or spa treatments. However, we all experience disappointments in life...it happens...but I am going to be royally pissed if Feinstein spends taxpayer money trying to rectify this. An investigation? Are you kidding me? This sounds like a 2-hour meeting and an after action report with recommendations for the Obama inaugural in 2013. Maybe they can guarantee you good seats for that.

Posted by: skipper7 | January 23, 2009 12:48 AM | Report abuse

skipper7... it's one of those things where I think you had to be there.

The complete lack of security in the Blue and Purple "lines" was, in fact, outrageously dangerous, considering all the talk of unprecedented security for the Inauguration. As you've obviously read a few too many of these accounts for your taste, you surely have noticed one common theme is that no law enforcement was present, or, when present, was entirely insufficient to handle the gathered crowds.

This is the kind of thing that actually does call for an official inquiry; I cannot even fathom, at this point, how DC would ever handle an evacuation in the event of an emergency, and that's not even the kind of thing you can plan for months ahead.

As for me, meh, I'd still do it over again. At least we made it out of the Blue masses and over to the Dubliner in time to see Bush's helicopter depart, and to join in rousing choruses of "There's No One As Irish As Barack Obama" with fellow revelers and dejected Blue/Purple ticket holders. :-)

Posted by: CincyJen | January 23, 2009 1:52 AM | Report abuse

I was one of the unfortunate blue ticket holders, who missed the inauguration. I have added a post with video of the mess of the organization that was the Blue gate:


Posted by: jeffwheeland | January 23, 2009 2:37 AM | Report abuse

I was a Silver Ticket Holder that is so frustrated by the indifference of the security officials at the event. This could have been avoided with some planning. It seems the responsibilities are so spread out that it led to nobody being truly "in charge" on inauguration day. I have lived in DC long enough to know that Terrance Gainer is likely deserving of some of that blame. His quote about 236,000 had a great time and 4-5,000 didn't was so smug and obnoxious and infuriated those of us who didn't get in. I agree that I would rather see an honest accounting of what happened and a true apology, not one cloaked in excuses. This could have been handled better on the day of the event. Why only open the gates at 9 if you were requiring everyone to go through a metal detector, for example??

Here's the response to my email to Feinstein.

The recipient's mailbox is full and can't accept messages now. Microsoft Exchange will not try to redeliver this message for you. Please try resending this message later, or contact the recipient directly.

Posted by: jamest1 | January 23, 2009 8:34 AM | Report abuse

We were holders of four Purple tickets and found our way in ONLY because of very good luck. Both my sons live in DC so they know some of the "backways" to get us to the ONE Purple gate.

I was shocked that there was NO signage or people with megaphones guiding the people looking for the correct entrances. There were plenty of cops about, but no one knew where to go. The Inauguration committee should have had briefed volunteers on every corner near the Mall and Capitol with exact instructions of where to go to each colored section. And, what about having those traffic signs, used near lane closures and accidents, to guide traffic around the affected areas. Certainly many could have been put out, showing the way.

It was disgracefully handled by the Committee.

I felt at the time that the situation could have turned ugly really fast if the crowd had not been in - generally - a good mood.

Posted by: jillsmeyer | January 23, 2009 9:05 AM | Report abuse

I certainly feel these people's pain. But really, it was a long and difficult day. Sure, it should have been handled differenty. But I agree - taking time and money to have an investigation into what happened? I can tell you what happened right now - shotty planning on the part of PIC and DC police! It was happening all over the place - confusion and misdirection all over the mall. I was in the first public pen - people were getting shut out as early as 6am. We were there at 5 - some say there was more room, some say there was not. But in the end, it was just about how early you were there, and if you got a stroke of luck to get into an area with competent volunteers. I understand the frustration of all of the ticketholders - we were commenting about how the pen ahead of us (for ticketholders) was still empty at 10, and what they were planning on doing with it. But with all of the problems that we have in the country, I think that our time and energy would be better spent solving some other problems that we have. No one is discounting the experience that you had and your frustration... but wanting a dinner at the White House? How about all of the Americans who have lost their jobs and 401Ks? Lets get back to business...

Posted by: AndreaR784 | January 23, 2009 11:46 AM | Report abuse

I was a blue ticket holder and got denied after 5 hours of waiting. I am an online journalist, and wrote my account of our nightmare, complete with video of the fiasco. Check it out: http://www.examiner.com/x-2347-Latin-America-Travel-Examiner~y2009m1d22-The-Obama-inauguration-the-blue-ticket-fiasco

Posted by: jeffwheeland | January 23, 2009 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Along the same lines as everyone else here, my dad and I, who traveled all the way from Boise, ID for Obama's inauguration, also had the "coveted" blue tickets. We stood in line for 3 1/2 hours and somehow, and I don't know how, got into a wrong line along with everyone else. In order for us to get into the "right" line, we would have had to get out of where we were and then find the right line to get in and then do some MORE waiting. We just quit right then and found a tv in a nearby building to watch the rest of the inauguration. Granted I would have loved to have been able to get to my "blue" seating area, but getting to watch what was left was better than not getting to see anything at all.

Posted by: spudzybb | January 23, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

I am from Nevada and received two blue tix from Senator Harry Reid and nothing more, i.e., no souvenir packet. We went to considerable trouble and expense to make last-minute arrangements to attend the inauguration (Harry Reid's office informed me that I would receive tix only one week in advance). Around 11:15 a.m. on Jan. 20, a law enforcement official rudely and belligerently screamed at the blue ticket holders line that we would be denied admittance to our designated area. I just wanted to cry. For several hours, we waited in line in freezing temperatures and were rewarded with total disrespect and major disappointment. Around 11:30 a.m., after the blue ticket line had disbursed, another law enforcement official atop a Segway on Third St. told me there had been a breakdown in communications regarding processing of ticket holders. What a shameful, disgraceful way to treat constituents. Honestly, a crappy souvenir packet (which apparently was widely distributed anyway) is insulting compensation for this disaster.

Posted by: Julie007 | January 23, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

I am a former DC area resident who had silver tickets, but finally decided not to make the trip because my gut feeling was that something like this would happen. My hearts breaks for all the people who followed the rules and did as instructed only to be treated so horribly and miss the whole thing.

The question no one seems to be asking is "when the people eventually overtook the security area and got through without being screened, who was protecting our President?" Senator Feinstein and ALL her colleagues should be demanding an answer to that question first and foremost. We all know a President that represents as much change and as many firsts as Obama is at risk. The fact that when the crap hit the fan, security stepped back and let the people flood in is downright frightening. No manner of consolation prizes of programs and pictures would console any of us if something happened to our President. So, as sorry as I am for all those who were stuck in the tunnel, I truly think the question we should all demand be answered is "who is being held accountable for the security breach on the Capitol grounds on Inauguration Day?". We demand an answer.

Posted by: ThatGirl2 | January 23, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse

I don't know if there is sufficient "compensation" for this, but I do applaud Sen. Feinstein's efforts to learn what happened and sincerely hope these lessons are put to good use next time. I also applaud everyone who got shut out or got caught up in this mess for continuing to speak out and making sure this wasn't swept under the rug. It is by God's grace and the great humor of the people on Tuesday that prevented a disaster from happening. By speaking out and letting Sen. Feinstein and the Secret Service know what happened..the facts as you saw them...we can do our part to, hopefully, prevent a disaster on another day. That is the spirit of President Obama's leadership. WE have to do OUR part.

Posted by: baddabing1 | January 23, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

The Purple Tunnel sounds awful - no doubt. I was a Silver Ticket holder - and BARELY made it in. I looked back and saw a sea - blocks and blocks - of silver ticket holders behind me. I'm wondering why this hasn't gotten any attention?? Did all those people suddenly get in, or are they being ignored for some reason???
You can see the crowd along 3rd St SW, at Independence and back farther.
If these people also did not get in --- why are they not also being compensated????

Posted by: melissa6 | January 23, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

What a joke! WE DID OUR PART! We followed the rules. We followed the 'lines'. We were not an unruly crowd! Thank God for good Americans. Otherwise, the scene could have got real ugly real fast. No officers to speak of, no direction, and thousands of unhappy souls. Thank God instead of storming the gates, we cried while listening to the speech over cell phones. I will never get over it and I will never forget it. We were treated like pod scum and to suggest we should forget it skipper7, you have another thing coming! We want answers and a resolve and a to know our country is safe unlike what we were thrown into on January 20!

Posted by: guthrie2 | January 23, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

The idea of sending a souvenier to purple ticket holders (and others) sound like good PR, however it does not make up for the time, money and just plain desire to see a historic moment that will never happen again. I took my children with me in the cold and we along with several thousand did more than our share and we missed one of the most historic moments in history. I had a small radio in my pocket and even thought the crowd was angry, we stopped to listen to the radio and appreciate the importance of that day. I had people taking picture with the radio and their ticket to document their experience. I am most dissappointed that there was never a consistant explaination after the fact. There was never any direction during the event and there was insufficient security for the crowd. It is by the grace of God and human kindness because of the reason we were there, that things did not get ugly. I hope they come up with something better than a package that we already have to acknowledge the mistakes that were made. But even if they don't I am proud of what the day brought to America... a new and wonderful POTUS Barack Obama!

Posted by: smayesnva | January 23, 2009 5:12 PM | Report abuse

We were among the thousands of purple ticket holders stuck outside the tunnel, within sight of the one purple gate, who never got in.

I don't WANT compensation. I DESERVE an explanation, however. Not the self-serving, insulting blather that has come from the "responsible" officials so far. An explanation of why the only official presence we saw during our 4 1/2 hours of standing in line was two ladies (volunteers?) outfitted with yellow vests, who told us to be calm, an incident had occurred (they didn't know what) and a gate would be opened (they didn't know where) and we would get in (they didn't know when). And why, after we left the Capitol grounds in disappointment and sadness, were we not able to find anyone to tell us if it was possible to go onto the Mall. We did find sympathetic DC police officers on 7th St, who said they knew only that no one was allowed south of D St. And finally, when we arrived at Union Station to take the MARC train home, we were denied entry to the station by security officers, this time from Amtrak and DHS, who had no idea how we were to access the platforms. Again, they were very polite and very sympathetic, and completely uninformed. Here the crowds were even larger,and much more unruly, and more angry. We were only delayed by an hour or so, but many people missed their trains to Chicago and up and down the east coast.

As others have mentioned, I shudder to think how these various agencies, no matter how well intentioned, would respond to a real or threatened security issue. NO information, no coordination and no apparent plan. It's not about who got to see the inauguration. It's about public safety in the nation's capital.

Posted by: claytiller | January 23, 2009 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Response to 954pm update

Still it does not answer the basic question of why the ticket holders were left out in the cold as if this was the first inaugural they ever had held. This was the 56TH one. Those on the National Mall were treated way better than the secured area ticket holders! When the security officers left their post the fences got pushed down and we had grey ticket holders in the purple section! Stop do not send the junk it won't heal anything. But wait til re-election time!

Posted by: Mikefrom8thdistrict | January 23, 2009 7:52 PM | Report abuse

I'm a Silver Ticket Holder from the state of Alabama. I left Comfort Inn Convention Center 1201 13th St. NW at 4:45 a.m. for the Inauguration I stoped and asked the Police and/or Security what direction should I go to get to my gate since I knew that Pennsylvania Ave was closed. I was told to go too 7th Street. To make a long story short I did not get to the Sliver Ticket Gate. I think that I also should receive the same souvenir packet that Senate Feinstein has offered the Purple Ticket Gate Holders. I have tried to get through on the feedback@jccic.senate.gov websight but have not as yet had any success. I do thank that D.C. is a beautiful place and I'm glad that I came.

Posted by: fuquathe1 | January 24, 2009 8:09 AM | Report abuse

I am one of the blue ticket holders that stood out in the freezing cold for hours, only to be denied access. And I find it amazing that some people would post comments telling us to "get over it". I can't speak for all in attendance, but I spent a lot of money to travel from California to witness this historic event, and the fact that I would have seen more from my warm couch than I did on the side of the freezing Capitol building is somewhat disappointing. Would I have rather been home? No way! Would I have rather been in my assigned area? Absolutely! Honestly I don't consider the money spent a waste, that part was not the problem, the lack of police presence, organization, and communication was. I don't expect anything in return for this mishap, but it sure would be nice to know that someone feels our outrage, and wants to set things right. I'm thinking at least a tour of the White House.

Posted by: philtheterror | January 24, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

What about the fiasco at the Silver ticket Gate? the lack of security there??
This purple tunnel sounds bad - no doubt. And I'm sorry for the Blue Ticket people, too. But I got shoved by an irate out-of-control guy in the Silver area about 10:30 am, when the crowd was starting to get bad. At that point, I could not lift my hand to touch my face. (Most people were kind, upbeat, hopeful - but there were enough people losing it that we got scared)A woman called the police, twice, and none came.
Security was nil, when we finally got there (10:55 am). We turned around and saw blocks and blocks of people who we felt sure would not get in. Many people left in hopes of watching elsewhere. The 11:19 photo shows this nicely - look around 3rd St SW and Independence. Did all those people actually get in??
Is PIC not considering anything but Blue and Purple?? REALLY????

Posted by: melissa6 | January 24, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

*** They MISPELLED the name of the Senate Sargeant at Arms in the VERY FIRST LINE of Sen. Feinstein's press release. They STILL don't know how to spell the first name of the person overseeing all security that day? It's Terrance Gainer, not "Terrence". ***

This whole fiasco starts with poor planning and lack of attention to detail. That really sums it up, and it's unacceptable. How about a heartfelt apology instead of more excuses?

Posted by: sdaglas | January 25, 2009 12:54 AM | Report abuse

*** They MISPELLED the name of the Senate Sergeant at Arms in the VERY FIRST LINE of Sen. Feinstein's press release. They STILL don't know how to spell the first name of the person overseeing all security that day? It's Terrance Gainer, not "Terrence". ***

This whole fiasco starts with poor planning and lack of attention to detail. That really sums it up, and it's unacceptable. How about a heartfelt apology instead of more excuses?

Posted by: sdaglas | January 25, 2009 1:01 AM | Report abuse

I was there and I blame Feinstein. She was in charge of planning the Inauguration and I think she gave out too many tickets. My sister had tickets for the youth ball and was denied entry because the ballroom couldn't hold all the ticket holders. She spent lots of money for those tickets not to mention her dress. What is she getting in return. I don't think we can blame the police for that. It was Feinstein and her group that sold those tickets.

Could it be that they did the same for the Capitol Grounds? Police should have done a better job with forming a line outside the purple security gate but I was talking with a group of people who actually got in the purple gate in less then 30 minutes. They said they arrived at Union Station at 10am and walked in the gate at 1045. There were probable thousands of others who did the same. That likely caused the back-up in the 3rd street tunnel. I guess they were in the right line. Once they walked in the gate they said they walked right through the metal detectors because there were no lines.

As Feinstein said herself, she started the investigation to learn what happen and not find blame. Maybe she's responsible.

Posted by: bbbsmith1 | January 25, 2009 9:43 AM | Report abuse

The Nation's Capital will celebrate the effective, efficient security measures during the recent Inauguration festivities at the National Bollard Festival.

See http://notionscapital.wordpress.com/2009/01/25/celebrate-inaugural-security/

Posted by: MikeLicht | January 25, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

An open letter to Senator Feinstein,
I was there and I blame you, as Chairman of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies. You were in charge of planning the Inauguration and I think you authorized the printing of too many tickets.

From the concert, to the inaugural, to the balls, it was poorly planned (at least the Southern States Ball at the DC Armory was). Did you know there were no handicap accesses there? There was no parking (we were told to find a spot in the neighborhood). People had paid money for may events and were denied entry because there were too many people in already! We spent lots of money for those tickets, not to mention the ballgowns. What are we getting in return. I don't think we can blame the police for that. It was you and your groups (including the PIC) that gave out the tickets. What is your right mind said everybody would not show up? Not one of the liberal news stations in DC EVER said that.

Could it be that they did the same for the Inauguration itself? Police should have done a better job with forming a line outside the silver ticket security gate. Lines were not clearly marked, many people had no tickets, and just pushed through. How are you going to rectify that?

Poor planning on your part (and the other bigwigs involved) is where the responsibility lies. How can you take a group of 25 year olds and put them in charge? I am volunteering right now for the next inaugural. Let's begin meeting in September of THIS YEAR.

According to your figures: The 56th Presidential Inauguration was more open and accessible than any other in history. 1,120,000: Metro train rides taken on January 20th, setting a new record for one-day ridership. 18,000: Volunteers provided support for the inaugural activities.

This does not account for the people that walked in or drove it.

How can this be redeemed? The photo package and a tour of the Capital, including a visit to President Obama the next time my sister (who ha cancer) and my husband is in town.

Senator Feinstein said she started the investigation to learn what happen and not find blame.
There is blame here somewhere.

Pamela Boyd

Posted by: boydshield | January 25, 2009 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Melissa6, I'm one of those Silver ticket holders who never got in. The lines went from 3rd St., SW, to at least 9th or 10th Streets. My hubby and I kept getting more and more depressed as we walked past the crowd to get to the back of the line; it never came. We eventually abandoned the line around 10:30 when it became clear we weren't getting in. So, we ended up walking toward the National Indian Museum, and then to the Monument. We ended up somewhere on the Mall with everyone else--no jumbotron, couldn't see a thing and the speakers were horrible. But at least we got to bundle together to hear President Obama take the oath of office. We walked five miles to get to Mall, from SE. It's hard to get over anything. We were so happy to be one of the few DC residents receiving tickets and then, the disappointment. And it didn't even seem to matter when you got there--either 5 oc'clock or 10 o'clock--most people went through the same problem. We met some women who were ticket holders and were at the Mall since 5. They were at the same place we were. Sigh.

Posted by: mph160 | January 26, 2009 2:26 PM | Report abuse

After driving all the way from Texas, we arrived a day early so we could check out the whole layout, and not have any problems for the next day. On inauguration day, we knew exactly where to go and got there, but still could not get in. Thousands of blue ticket holders were not allowed to pass through the blue security gate.

I would very much like to know the reason as to why this happened? It's one thing for something to go wrong, but it's a slap in the face to not even explain what it was. Crowd control at the blue gate was not the problem, but for some reason they were letting people in at a snail's pace. Please tell us what that reason was, thanks.

Posted by: blue_line_blues | January 27, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

I did not have a ticket-to anything. I am a volunteer and small money contributor who came from Alabama to have a once in a lifetime experience. I got to the National Mall before 5am Tuesday morning. I had no problems getting into the general viewing area and was directly in front of a jumbotron. I feel for those who did not have the same ease; however, the day was really about changing our nation. Maybe we can focus less on our personal disappointments and more on moving the country in a positive direction.

Posted by: deltagirl7 | January 27, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Same story as above. I think there were way more than 4 - 5,000 people left outside the gates. The day of and the day after, I spoke personally with 3 other people who were disappointed blue ticket holders like we were. What are the odds of that happening in crowds of 1 million plus? I have to remind myself that we were there and a part of an important event, even if we couldn't see it and heard very little of it. The joy of having Obama as President will always be accompanied by the sadness of this experience. For those of you who say "Get over it," quit. Think how you would feel if someone told you to "get over" missing one of the most significant events in your life such as the birth of a child, your own wedding, saying "goodbye" to a beloved relative who passed away. Let people grieve...let people vent; it's our right.

Posted by: friedaflint | January 28, 2009 10:44 PM | Report abuse

Its now well past the beginning of the week, when the instructions for redeeming our restitution packets were to be posted on the Joint Commitee's web site and nothing is posted. I am watching closely to see if this promise is kept.

Posted by: lbeckwith | January 29, 2009 6:29 PM | Report abuse

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