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User Video: Blue-Ticket Holders Shut Out

Despite arriving many hours before the swearing-in, even ticket holders had trouble getting into the ceremony. Congressional staffer Scott Gore sent in this video from outside the gates for the blue-ticket seating area.

By Amy L. Kovac  |  January 20, 2009; 6:03 PM ET  | Category:  Crowds , Point of View , Security , Swearing-in Ceremony , Tickets
Previous: Photos: Crowds Storm D.C. for Inauguration | Next: No Arrests, No Violations of Airspace Reported

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This is virtually identical to my experience at the purple gate. I'm glad somebody got this on video.

Posted by: captandyhunt | January 20, 2009 8:11 PM | Report abuse

I got in the blue gate line at 7 only to see it collapse into a mass of thousands of people by 9. By 11, I was nearing the entrance to the gate when complete and utter mayhem ensued. As painful as it was, I had to walk away from the event, blue ticket in hand, for fear that a riot was about to occur. I am extremely disappointed in the planning of this event, as the exact number of tickets (and, consequently, the number of people who would be waiting to get in) was known, yet there was no crowd control or police enforcement of any kind. I'm upset with those entitled people who could not respect the fact that some had been waiting for hours, who swarmed the front of the line and violently pushed their way through the crowd. Luckily, I made my way to the Greene Turtle on F Street in time to see the entire ceremony. This was an historic day and I am frustrated that the magnitude of it all was tarnished by the actions of the dishonest people in the crowd, the terrible organization and the lack of police presence. The positivity of some of the people that I met today is the only thing keeping me from expressing more outrage. In 2012, I’m camping out...

Posted by: evolberding | January 20, 2009 10:38 PM | Report abuse

In 2012, I'm staying home.

Never again will I even attempt to attend another inauguration. Even with the satellite photos, the place doesn't look as full as they said it did.

The organizers really messed up this one.

Posted by: madinirose | January 21, 2009 12:45 AM | Report abuse

My youngest daughter and I traveled from Florida at considerable time and expense because of our support for President Obama and because we had obtained BLUE tickets. We were in line at 7:20 am. The temperature was sub-freezing, but the mood in line was high. By 12:10 pm, we realized we had missed the ceremony and been denied access...or even a decent explanation. Shame, shame, shame, on Capitol Police and the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies. No planning or crowd control whatsoever. Disney easily moves 250,000 people every day in the summer, (the estimated number of ticket holders). The only reason there wasn't widespread chaos and riots was because of the civility of the people in line. No other reason. A horrible, disappointing experience.

Posted by: JSj2fla | January 21, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

It was absolutely NUTS out there. We got there around 8am, and there was no structure to the line. The only structure began at the funnel point of the entrance way because of the waist high barriers and the fact that people weren't letting other people hop over because it wasn't fair and because it would cause a stampede/riot. All they had to do was put up roped lines or barriers beyond that funnel point so that people could at least self regulate the process.

Besides the lack of an orderly line, the screening did not begin on time, and afterwards i heard rumors of broken scanning equipment being responsible for slowing down the process.

The worst part about the whole experience, besides getting the gates shut in my face when i was only 3 feet from it, was the fact that the officers didn't give out any information. If they had at least let people in line know that they were having problems and that most people would probably not make it in, they could have given people the chance to walk down to the public viewing areas so that they could at least hear the swearing in and speech. There was no video at the blue gate and you really couldn't hear a think.

They are extremely lucky they didn't get a bunch of people and officers killed. The way they handled things would have easily caused a riot in most other situations. I strongly believe that the only reason people didn't riot is because they were still just so happy about Obama. Their happiness took a lot of the natural human propensity towards violence out of the equation. Thank lord for that!

Posted by: SpoonyG | January 21, 2009 6:17 PM | Report abuse

people with purple tickets faced a similar situation. I did assume that a ticket meant I would get in, especially since I started out at RFK stadium at 4:30 in the morning. It was one series of "road blocks" after another: officers who had no idea what was going on, being re-directed from one spot to another to another for hours, complete lack of information and utter MIS-information, NO police presence once I finally made it to the north side of the Mall where my gate was, no signs, no bull horns and no one to use them to tell attendees what was happening. UTTER CHAOS. The ONLY reason that no one was killed or injured was because the crowd remained fairly calm. We were packed in so tightly that if the crowd got rowdy it would have been wal-mart on black friday all over again.

It will be a day I remember for the rest of my life, but not for the reason I thought. Thankfully the best thing about the day is that Barack Obama is now our President, which is what I really wanted!!

Posted by: kashabear | January 21, 2009 9:29 PM | 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 3:33 PM | Report abuse

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