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Citizens on the inauguration

President Bush and first lady Laura Bush wave to the crowd after dancing at the Constitution Ball at the Washington Hilton Hotel during the 55th Presidential Inaugural celebration in Washington, D.C., Thursday.
President Bush and first lady Laura Bush wave to the crowd after dancing at the Constitution Ball at the Washington Hilton Hotel during the 55th Presidential Inaugural celebration in Washington, D.C., Thursday.Elise Amendola / AP

I tried to attend the swearing in ceremony because my co-worker gave me great tickets to view this event.  I was very excited and privileged to be there.  Though, unfortunately, I never got in.

After I waited patiently for almost two hours, I only moved in line about 10 feet; I missed the entire swearing in ceremony. Several hundred of my fellow Americans, including myself, just waited.

While we could see the Capitol building, we could not see or hear any of the ceremony.  We never made even made it through the security tents.  As an actual ticker-holder and supporter of Bush, I was disappointed that I couldn’t access this area in a timely manner.

After trying to access the parade at several sites, my boyfriend and I decided to just head home on the metro and watch it on TV. —Sheila, Alexandria, Va.

My father and I drove from Ohio to peacefully protest at the inauguration.  I'd been to D.C. before and loved it.  This time, however, the mink coats were everywhere.  The talk on the Metro was "what ball are you attending?"  The level of celebration was shocking in this time of war. 

When we returned to Ohio, I watched a news story of how six children witnessed the innocent deaths of their parents by our troops.  I feel for the children and the soldiers; That's the reality and I don't care what ball you attend. —Carol DelGrosso, Ohio

I attended the Bush’s inauguration, in protest.  While waiting 90 minutes in the security line, I heard a man loudly proclaim “The f’ kers better get used to it because we are f’ing in charge for the next four years.” 

One woman standing behind me along the parade route kept suggesting that we go across the street to the Canadian Embassy and make arrangements to leave our beloved nation. 

I spoke with a young woman from Nebraska who was here with a group of journalism students.  One of them took some video of the group on the Metro — a normal, everyday occurrence.  The result?  Someone complained, the police were brought in and the video confiscated.

Though, Bush supporters mainly blamed the protesters for the massive security, which seemed to be overdone.  I felt that though I was in Berlin during the Cold War.  D.C. was broken down into sectors, and to move from one to the next, a person was required to go through security again.  Even when I tried to leave to get to the Metro, there was a security line.  —Jana Hussmann Meacham, Ma.

This was my third inaugural, and at least the weather was good this time out (mid 30s, but in Wisconsin it was around 0). It was clear and mildly warm, compared to 2001, when it was damp, damp, damp and 1997 when it was clear but icebox cold.  The Security tents were the main sticking point for most people, taking over an hour, two in some cases. However, once you got the tent, the search was rather casual. A general patdown for weapons, and the police were asking "are you carrying any weapons?" Amazingly, some people answered yes to that question. Police confiscated some bags and backpacks but not others. There were no metal detectors (not even wand devices), no x-ray machines, and no dogs. Bush's motorcade went through at fairly high speed past the area where many of the protestors were, near Fourth and Pennsylvania. Despite this, there were a large number of boos, yells and taunts along with sign-waving. On thing that was different was that the Washington area police were joined by police from all over the county. I saw police from Dayton (Ohio), Minneapolis, Columbia (Missouri) and Miami. The Miami cops made the front cover of the Post rolling around in the snow -- definetely not the type of weather they are used to at home. The Metro was extremely efficient, crowds were large but the trains were not that much more crowded than on an average day. The WMATA issued a special Inauguration Day pass with a stylized American flag design on it. — John Heckenlively, Rancine, Wis.

Since I work from 7:00 to 5:00 and not home until 6:00PM, I got to watch re-runs of the Inaugural Activities especially the swearing-in and the speech at CSpan.  I came from a third world country and immigrated to this beautiful land of the FREE and where democracy is practiced at its fullest context. That is why watching the inauguration is very uplifting.  I voted for Pres. Bush and I believe in his ideals and moral values and I am convinced he will lead this country in the right direction. I pray that he will be guided by the "Powerful Wisdom" in all his decision-making.  Long live America and its Democracy. — Ester, Norwalk, Calif.

If the goal is to eliminate tyranny in the world, then the FIRST place for Mr. Bush is in his own White House.  His nominee for Attorney General spent a large part of Mr. Bush's first term finding justifications for the use of torture.  This Administration, using the false pretext of Weapon of Mass Destruction, lied us into a war that has, to date, killed over 100,000 civilians, over 1,300 American troops, and countless innocent by-standers, one of whom was a woman who had dedicated 30 years of her life to trying to help the Iraqi people.  This Administration owes its election to both encouraging and abetting the slandering of the wartime reputation of a good man, all the while doing all in its power to cover-up the alarming lack of military service on the part of those most vociferous in advocating military invasion and occupation.  If this President REALLY wants to eradicate tyranny in the world, he can start by leaving Washington D.C. and taking his fellow Republican sychophants with him.  — Joseph Dorchack, Berwyn, Ill.

I agree that we should honor the office of the president regardless of our feelings for the man holding that position. During the beginning Bush's first term I was supportive of his actions.  But as he moved against Iraq, alienated our allies and moved the economy toward record deficits I became disenchanted with his policies. I hope for the sake of this country the next four years go by quickly. — Andy

I know we have the freedom of speech and the freedom to disagree; but I truly believe that on Inaguration Day we should put those disagreements aside.  Regardless of whether or not we agree with the choice that was made, we should respect the OFFICE of President.  In the past and most likely in the future, I will not agree or maybe even like the elected President.  However, I have always respected the office and have never used my position as a teacher to denigrate or belittle the President, regardless of his political ties.  I encourage questioning and disagreeing with political, moral, and ethical decisions that are made; but never have allowed the OFFICE to be disrespected in any manner.   I will not take this forum to even state my political beliefs.  I will take the time to pray for the President and pray the decisions he makes in the next four years will be the best for the United States.  God Bless the President and the United States. — PB {old enough to know and young enough to care}. Oklahoma City, Okla.

I found it ironic that the e-mail that seemed to say it all was from a 10 year old.  I don't care if the inaugural funds were donated by private citizens.  If the "compassionate conservative citizens" who made these events possible were really "compassionate" one would think that they wouldn't mind helping out some of their fellow Americans who can't, through no fault of their own, afford health insurance. Yes, America is the land of opportunity where dreams can come true; however, there may be circumstances that prevent some people from becoming a financial success.  Maybe the "elite" (George W's base) shouldn't be so quick to judge until they actually walk in the shoes of those that aren't quite as fortunate. —K. North, Ft. Smith, Ariz.

I support President Bush, but I feel that his inauguration, while beautiful to watch, cost so very much. I don't understand why this event should be so costly, when we have people in our
wonderful nation who lack food and shelter,especially children. I just believe that some of all the millions it cost for President Bush's grand event could have been better served by feeding the poor and hungry children who live in his country. —Candace, Spokane, Wash.

As I sat in the lunchroom with my friend today, we watched the inauguration of President Bush.  Various students at my high school planned a walkout in protest of his inauguration.  Sure, it is not going to change the fact that he is our president, but we needed to express our opinion.  Hopefully these four years will go by quickly and for the next election I will get a chance to vote and truly make a difference.  Virginia, Marietta, Ga.

I didn't vote for "W".  However, as I sat in my office watching the President speak the oath of office, I felt uplifted by the bigger picture: We are one of the youngest nations in the world, yet for the umpteenth time, an elected President was inaugurated peacefully. The army didn't shut down the country, civil war did not erupt, and best of all, we all can say whatever we like about him without fear of being thrown in prison or killed.

As Americans, we have a new President, and if we truly believe in the democratic process as we say we do, we ought to be gracious (if not good) losers.  Let’s cut the guy a little slack on inauguration day.  —Ellen Moore, Houston, TX

I attended the Inauguration today, and was proud of the opportunity to express my patriotism.  The founding fathers of this country sought the peace and freedom.  Our president, George W. Bush, espouses the same beliefs that moved the founding fathers to establish this beautiful country.

His speech today was indicative of this.  He does not like war any more than any other person does, but what we have to realize is that he is in a position that none of us have ever been in.  Personally, I am grateful that we have President Bush as our leader in this tumultuous time.  I am grateful for his courage to stand fast to what he believes, in spite of the criticism he has received.

May God bless our President, our country, and all citizens of the United States throughout the years to come!  —Bryan Twaddle, Front Royal, Va.

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I am a new resident of D.C. and wanted to attend the parade. Although I voted for President Bush, it was made very clear that there was really nowhere to stand if you didn't have a ticket for the bleachers.  I am certainly supportive and concerned about security, but this event was for paying customers.  Ironically, we are regular donors to our local Republican congressman.  It’s not much of a parade for the people if I have to call on my congressman as a donor to get a ticket.  —R.  Burton

I did not attend the Inauguration, as I had no desire to do so. But my 17-year-old brother is there, along with the other members of the Camden Fairview High School Band. I am proud that my brother has had the opportunity to see things and go places he might not have otherwise been able to see or visit, and I am excited for him to have been part of something this monumental and historically important. However, I wish that he would've been afforded the opportunity to attend the Inauguration of a much more worthy person.  —Chrystal D. White

Of course people are upset: those who voted for Kerry are upset; those who don't think the inaugural celebration should have cost $40 million are upset. The bottom line is Bush is in office for another four years. Personally, I voted for him and think he is a man of great character and that we need him right now. For those who don't agree with me, no amount of protesting is going to drive him out of office. —Julie Dodson, Memphis, Tenn.

I am watching the Inauguration from work.  I believe it was beautiful, moving, and historic.  I am a proud supporter of President Bush and voted for him both times.  This world is changing and we need to come together more than ever to support our country and each other for the future!  God Bless the USA, President Bush, and this world. —Rania, Baltimore, Md.

Getting to work this morning was abysmal. The clueless tourist crowds in the Metro were easily identifiable by their thick accents, their directionlessness, their blocking of every train car door, and their carrying of illegal breakfast items on a train system for which locals would receive a fine and a browbeating.  They carried bags with Bush logos, wore furs and jeans and cowboy boots, and didn't seem to understand that this was not a day of celebration for everyone on their train.  As I rode the outbound train toward Alexandria, I was relieved to be rid of their throng. —Craig, Vienna, Va.

I loved President Bush's speech. I believe he is doing the right thing for our country AND doing it to the best of his ability. Who else would've wanted this job after 9/11? He is a man of character and high moral values which I believe our country desperately needs right now. The complaints about the money spent on the inauguration? GET OVER IT people! Did you happen to research how much others spent on theirs AND at taxpayers (not private contributions) expense? As —Audrey Mundell

I watched the president's inaugural address and it was nice to watch him talk about Freedom and Democracy. The president seemed sincere and honest in his speech. On the side, the pastor concluded his benediction address as "... in the name of Jesus Christ"! In my opinion, it would have better reflected had he concluded it as "in the name of God" just to remain democratic to all faiths.  —Sam, Savannah, Ga.

Our family worried about the snow, too, during an Inauguration Day some time ago, but for a different reason: As a four-year-old, my new crutches were difficult to manage. I was scared of slipping on the ice before reaching the viewing stand.

My Dad had to carry me; the Rep. Wayne Aspinall, (D-Colo.), had put my cruthes under his coat. We mounted the pine bleachers to hear General Dwight Eisenhower sworn in, even if he was a Republican!

My father was Hon. Wayne N. Aspinall's speech secretary. After the l948 elections from Colorado, he followed the first term congressman to Washington, D.C. One night, as Dad cried at his desk bcause he couldn't afford the orthopedic shoes for his daughter, Mr. Aspinall said that he would recommend me to Shriner's Hospital for Crippled Children.  As a Shriner, only Mr. Aspinal could visit me in the hospital and he did. His rough tweed coat scraped my cheek when he hugged me to his chest. —Delaine Strandberg, Cambridge, Ma.

I will not be at the inauguration, but thought your viewers might be interested in a family inauguration story.   My great-great-great grandfather was William Henry Harrison, the 9th US President, who many may not know, delivered the longest inaugural speech (4+ hours) on a very cold day.   He stubbornly refused to wear a coat, caught pneumonia and died one month later, marking his administration as the shortest in history.  He did make heroic history earlier as a great general, and won the election on the "Tippecanoe and Tyler, too" logo.  His dad, Benjamin Harrison was Gov. of Virgina and was a signer of the Declaration of Independence.  William Henry's nephew, Benjamin Harrison,  was also elected President 48 years later, and served a full term as the 23rd in the Oval Office. —Susan Hendryx, New York, N.Y

I will bag my lunch, get on the bus, teach my classes, and at any major retail outlet. I never hired the current administration (either time), unfortunately I am paying their salaries. They owe the American people a plan for ending the immoral war in Iraq which has killed over 1,300 of our forces, many of whom are there via a shameful backdoor draft. They also owe those of us who have suffered as a result of 9/11 a way of finding the real villains— Osama bin Laden and co. Bring the troops home! —Patricia, New York, N.Y.

I planned to be at the parade.  I'm 57, I've tried to get family members and friends to go to previous inaugurations and had no luck. I planned to seize the day this year, but Mother Nature stepped in and it started snowing. I planned to spend Inaugural eve at my son's in Rosslyn and walk over to enjoy the parade. The snow and ice in Hampton Roads slowed me down so I'll try tomorrow. If I can't get to the parade, I'll watch it on TV and hopefully get to Northern Virginia by early evening tomorrow so I can babysit my grandson while my son and daughter-in-law attend one of the inaugural balls.  I respect "W", he's a man of his word.  I trust him and those who surround him.  May God bless America and God bless George Bush and Dick Cheney. And all of this from a woman whose family have historically been Democrats —Judy, Virginia Beach, Va.

I wore black today to my classroom. The symbolism speaks for itself. I mourn for our country and the re-election of George Bush. —Chuck, New Castle

I will be watching the Inaugural festivities with great pride in both our country and our President. I am so proud that we have a president who has a strong faith in God and is not afraid to make tough decisions even if they aren't always popular with everyone; a true leader does not lead by what is popular he leads by what he believes to be the right course of action. I do feel however that too much is spent on these Inaugural events.  This is a totally bipartisan feeling because even though the Dems are harping this year about the cost. With all of the things we need to spend money on, it just seems beyond foolish to spend this amount of money on oh so much pomp and ceremony. Congratulations and Best Wishes President Bush!!  Love from the great red state of Louisiana!! -Lena Styles, Lafayette

I've voted for George W. both times. I've had faith in him, and in the direction he has tried to take the country. However, the expenditure of 40 million dollars, for the inaugural celebration, wreaks of excess. This is a tough sell, even if it is private funds. —Steve Revalee, Charlotte

I will not be attending the Inaugural Ball, because I live too far away. I am an 18 year old from South Dakota who comes from a family of Republicans. I can proudly say that I voted for President Bush. And, I must say I think it is abosolutely ludicrous for so many people to be so angry about all the money that is, may i add, being paid for from private contributions. And I would like to ask them the question, if Kerry had won the election, would there have been no Inaugural Ball? —Sarah, South Dakota

How is it that there's always money for war and inaugurations, but not for education and healthcare?  —Brian Abrams (Age 10), Encinitas, Calif.

I think this is a abhorable act of America spending so much money to get this person from one day to the next in what is being billed as an inaugeration.  Shame on the US for another example of frivolous spending. Upon visiting Versailles, Thomas Jefferson was quoted as saying, "Lord, may our nation never get to this wastefulness and extravagance." Well here we are now. —Adrian Rojas, Oxnard, Calif.

I am very disappointed in our Commander in Chief, and I voted for him again.  I believe that he should have scaled down his second inaugural, and put that money in the "Social Security" or helped our members of the Armed Forces. It make no sense to was that much money on this again. —Bruce

The Inaugural celebration is a time that I wish to enjoy for the moving event it is intended to be. I nowknow the cost of the event (from private contributions) and I am ready to let it go and enjoy the occassion. —John Slimak, Calcutta, OH

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