Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Lay of the Land for the Laity

For those of you following along at home, here is a map of where we will be standing.

Our tickets are for the "North Standing" area, in purple. We checked it out yesterday, and it's not bad. Folks directly in front of us will be sitting, and the ground slopes up gradually, making the sight-lines pretty good. We're shooting for a space right on the letter "N", which has a clear view of the JumboTron located about where the handicap symbol is in the yellow area. There are a couple of small, bare trees that shouldn't block too much of the view in the purple area, but several large evergreens in yellow that are quite opaque. Oh, and there are about 20 Porta Potties right behind us.

What was unclear from our reconnaissance mission was where the actual swearing-in podium will be. There is scaffolding all the way up the Capitol steps, with VIP seating in the nosebleed sections. It looked like there would be room for a chorus and an orchestra/band. I thought I saw a gleaming white podium on the lower level, which would be great for us if Mr. Obama stands there. But it could be the conductor's place. (Sneak preview of event: if rousing patriotic music is played, I will cry. I always do.) We couldn't get any closer than just outside the purple area yesterday and they were still setting things up, so even with a lot of squinting we couldn't see the final layout.

Today we are bringing a small pair of binoculars, which should help. Of course, the JumboTrons won't require magnification, but part of me wants to see it all with my own eyes. (Those of us who wore thick glasses for many years consider binoculars an extension of our prescription.)

Here's the program:

Musical Selections
The United States Marine Band

Call to Order and Welcoming Remarks
The Honorable Dianne Feinstein

Dr. Rick Warren, Saddleback Church, Lake Forest, CA

Musical Selection
Aretha Franklin

Oath of Office Administered to Vice President-elect Joseph R. Biden, Jr.
By Associate Justice of the Supreme Court
The Honorable John Paul Stevens

Musical Selection, John Williams, composer/arranger
Itzhak Perlman, Violin
Yo-Yo Ma, Cello
Gabriela Montero, Piano
Anthony McGill, Clarinet

Oath of Office Administered to President-elect Barack H. Obama
By the Chief Justice of the United States
The Honorable John G. Roberts, Jr.

Inaugural Address
The President of the United States, The Honorable Barack H. Obama

Elizabeth Alexander

The Reverend Dr. Joseph E. Lowery

The National Anthem
The United States Navy Band "Sea Chanters"

The parade route can be found on this website. The map is interactive, so I can't just paste it into this blog post. Most likely, we will not stay for the parade. The swearing-in ceremony is at 11:30 and the parade is at 2:30. By 12:30, we'll be frozen and tired from standing for at least 3 hours, so we'll try to make our way back to the Judicial Square Metro station and head back to the bus.

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