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We'll bring you first-hand accounts of local Seattle-area residents and their journey to D.C. and generally all things inauguration. If you're going to the inauguration and would like to contribute, contact us here.

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January 21, 2009 12:12 PM

My view of the parade

Posted by seattletimes.com staff

Submitted by Ashley Howard

Howard_Marine Saluting Motorcade

howard_car

It was a cold, but spectacular day from the parade route. After leaving my dorm room at 3:03 am and walking the 3.2 miles to the parade route, we arrived at 12th & G Streets shortly before 4am. In the four hours between then and the time the gates opened a not so surprising 55 minutes late the crowd behind us swelled from fifty into the tens of thousands. We got prime spots along the barricade overlooking Freedom Plaza on Pennsylvania Avenue between 13th & 14th Streets and settled in for the long cold wait.

howard_parade route west

howard_parade route east

The sound of a multitude of cell-phones ringing, would alert the crowd that something was happening. It happened for the first time at 11:00, when CNN showed the motorcade departing from the White House. Minutes later President Bush and President-elect Obama passed by us on their way to the swearing in ceremony. I tucked my phone into my knit cap. I would stay on the phone with my father for the next hour and twelve minutes. He talked us through everything that was happening, I would relay it to the crowd around me. "They've arrived. Cheney's in a wheel chair. They are now seating President Bush... they are playing Hail to the Chief for Bush for the last time... now, the girls are coming out. " A cheer echoed from the National Mall. From the speakers two blocks away, we could hear Michelle be announced. "She's got on a gold dress," I heard my father say. "Ask him who the designer is?" My best friend asked. My dad, Mr. Fashion Clueless, wouldn't have known if it was Vera Wang, Oscar De Larenta, or Isabel Toledo. It was Toledo, we later learned. Then Biden stepped out into the 25 degree air. Soon only Obama was left inside the capital. "Obama looks nervous, he's not smiling," my dad narrated.

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January 19, 2009 5:31 PM

Spotting the presidential motorcade

Posted by seattletimes.com staff

Submitted by Ashley Howard
Stopping to take photos of the iced over Potomac River, we heard sirens growing in the distance. Could it be, we wondered. It was. President-Elect Obama's motorcade was heading towards us! This was not the first time I have seen a Presidential Motorcade. In fact they are a common occurrence in DC. Actually after a while the thrill wears off and the annoyance of them diverting traffic builds. Maybe it was the spirit of celebration in the air or the fact that we are in the middle of a four day weekend with no where to be, but I found myself standing there with a grin on my face, one hand waving and the other snapping a photo.

howard_Obama Motorcade

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January 19, 2009 4:59 PM

A visit to Arlington Cemetary

Posted by seattletimes.com staff

Submitted by Ashley Howard

howard_arlington3

I am embarrassed to say having spent the last three years going to college in Washington, DC that the last time I visited Arlington Cemetery was when I was visiting Washington during the last inauguration. That's right ... four years ago. It was this realization that propelled my visit. Although cold, it was a beautiful, blue sky day.

Approaching the cemetery, one walks past an often overlooked monument dedicated to the Seabees, or the U.S. Naval Construction Battalion responsible for base building during World War II. At the bottom is a quote that says "with willing hearts ... the difficult we do at once, the impossible takes a bit longer." These words floated through my head as I passed through the wrought iron gates and I stepped onto hallowed ground. Immediately a feeling of humility overwhelmed me. The men and women buried here gave what Lincoln called "the last full measure of devotion." This would not be the last time I thought of Lincoln during my walk.

Almost immediately I left the stream of visitors making their way to Kennedy's grave and further up the hill to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, I would not be visiting them. For it was the other 300,000 plus men and women buried at Arlington that called to me. I talked to the graves, occasionally stopping to upright a wreath or straighten flowers, as I passed. Veterans from all the nation's wars - from the American Revolution through to the wars still being fought in Iraq and Afghanistan - are buried in this cemetery. But it quickly struck me that it was not just soldiers buried at Arlington, but wives, husbands, and children too. There are nineteen astronauts, twelve Supreme Court justices, two presidents, and 3,800 slaves, all Americans and each with their own unique story.

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January 19, 2009 4:33 PM

Notes from the inauguration concert- Sunday

Posted by seattletimes.com staff

Submitted by Ashley Howard

We arrived at the gates early ... 7:30 to be exact and the lines already stretched for over a block. It was cold and we were impatient. Slowly the minutes ticked by until 8:00, the crowd began counting down and at the appointed hour a cheer went up through those gathered at the security gate. Nothing happened. The silence gave way to chatter. Talking with the people around us we all agreed that even though we had a six and a half hour wait in front of us before the concert we would rather do it inside than standing on the street. There was something climactic about getting to pass through security. Plus it was cold - hovering right around the freezing point, with wind chill it felt much colder.

howard_inaugconcert2

Howard_inaugObama on the Screens

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January 18, 2009 5:36 AM

Stuck

Posted by seattletimes.com staff

Submitted by Ashley Howard

Well it's 8:30 and rumor has it, they are still sweeping the area and gates have not opened. Here's hoping they open soon.

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January 18, 2009 5:25 AM

Holding our position

Posted by seattletimes.com staff

Submitted by Ashley Howard

We arrived on constitution avenue, to be met with an already long line! To help forget about the cold we have been keeping track of the number of people whose lives are worse than ours. At the top of the list are the five people whose cars we saw towed off Virginia Avenue. If you have a sage green Volvo Cross Country and you can't find it, well it's currently circling Foggy Bottom, and it's now on lap two.

Although we heard a cheer when the gates were opened the line hasn't moved. Reports are the independence avenue entrance is shorter. But we'd have to walk probably three-quarters of a mile, and by the time we arrive there are no guarantees. We're going to hold our position.

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January 18, 2009 4:33 AM

Setting out for the concert

Posted by seattletimes.com staff

Submitted by Ashley Howard

It is 7am and we have set out for the inaugural concert on the mall... There was originally suppose to be three of us, but our ranks have slimmed and we are a person short. It is 1.6 miles to the Lincoln monument. However, the organizers were kind enough to put the security screening points as FAR from us as possible, so it looks like it'll be more like E miles by the time were there. Initial reports from our friends who left at 4 am is that there are a few thousand people already camped out at the gates, which don't open until 8M. Even M street is pretty deserted. Somewhere in the distance a fire alarm is going off.... Looks like it is at Banana Republic, but there is no fire truck in sight.

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January 10, 2009 6:32 AM

D.C. before the madness and a Roland Burris spotting?

Posted by seattletimes.com staff

Submitted by Ashley Howard

Friday, January 10, 2009
The University announced today that they will be hosting a ball on the Friday night prior to inauguration.Since I am a poor college student and cannot afford the $500 and up official ball tickets, I think I am going to have to settle for attending this ball.


Thursday, January 09, 2009

As my friends and I ate at late dinner at the infamous Tombs restaurant, and local college student hangout, I glanced up from my tomato soup to see none other than Roland Burris standing four feet away. Now the friends I was dining with are not quite as up to date on current issues as I am and I had to explain Mr. Burris' unique presence in Washington, DC. After all, it is not every day that the person appointed by a Governor facing impeachment charges for attempting to sell the vacancy of the President elect's senate seat stands right in front of you looking lost. Showing my friends his picture off my blackberry, they agreed there was a 90% chance it was him. Does anyone know if Mr. Burris is beginning to go bald on the back of his head?...because that would definitely seal the deal. Following my explanation, my friends' interests were piqued by the potential CNN celebrity sighting and we looked around the restaurant for him. Nope, nada, gone. We like to believe that the gentleman from Illinois got lost and happened to find himself in the step-child of the much posher and expensive restaurant that calls the upstairs home. After all, 1789 is a much more acceptable establishment for an appointed senator to be seen in than the local college bar, no matter how good the college bar's tomato soup might be.

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Recent entries

Jan 21, 09 - 12:12 PM
My view of the parade

Jan 19, 09 - 05:31 PM
Spotting the presidential motorcade

Jan 19, 09 - 04:59 PM
A visit to Arlington Cemetary

Jan 19, 09 - 04:33 PM
Notes from the inauguration concert- Sunday

Jan 18, 09 - 05:36 AM
Stuck

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