Part Two: The Inaugural Parade
The White House
Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC
The press and inauguration officials warned us
that we would not be able to attend both the swearing-in and the parade. We would have to choose, because of all of the security checkpoints and roadblocks set up to try to keep the President safe. But when Mom's friend "Jonathan the Magnificent" gave us six 'Golden Tickets' for us to sit in the reviewing stand next to President Obama's stand at the White House, my dad and our friend Pat Merkle would NOT be deterred.
We had to be in our seats thirty minutes before the parade started. This meant that, after the inauguration, we only had an hour to go from the Capitol to the White House (sixteen loooong blocks from the Capitol) and get through all of the security lines before we would be blocked from watching the parade. Dad and Pat came up with a strategy to drive from Pat's house by the capitol, all the way downtown (away from the parade), then cut back down as close as they could get to the White House and park at Pat's office downtown(hopefully).
IT WORKED! We made it! We got front row seats right on the street where President Obama walked.
Then we waited while the parade procession slowly made its way all the way from the Capitol to our seats at the White House. Finally, we saw all of the police lights and knew that we wouldn't have to wait much longer. First, Vice President Joe Biden and Mrs. Biden got out of their car and walked in front of us. Their family was walking with them, too. They looked really happy.
Next, we saw the new Presidential limosine coming toward us with police and Secret Service people everywhere around it. Just as the President's limo got close to the Presidential reviewing stand beside us, the limo stopped and the Obama's stepped out. They waved at everyone and started walking down the street.
First, they walked in front of their stand where their families and closest friends were waiting for them. Then, they walked in front of us. It was so cool! They waved right at us! Luckily, my dad took the picture to the left just as they were waving at us.
After the Obama's passed our stand, they got back in their limo and drove around the corner, past the OEOB (Old Executive Office Building, where the Vice President's office is located.) A few minutes later, we watched the Obama's come into their reviewing stand and greet their family and friends.
It was great seeing the President and First Lady up close, but we were FROZEN! So we left the parade and came back to the Merkle's so that we could get ready for the MTV Youth Ball!
TRIVIA: Martin Van Buren's 1837 Inaugural parade was the first to include floats.
TRIVIA: In 1881, President Garfield became the first President to review his Inaugural parade from a stand in front of the White House