Special report: Witnesses to history

January 20, 2009|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

o Read about presidential inaugural history

Editor's note: Tri-State residents filled two buses Tuesday beginning at 5:15 a.m., headed for Washington, D.C. for President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration. Herald-Mail reporter Erin Cunningham is accompanying them. Follow their progress throughout the day, and their reactions to the historic event.

12:55 p.m.

The inaugural ceremony is over, and Anne Seibert is sitting on a bench eating a granola bar. After that she might head over to the bus.

11:20 a.m.

After pushing through a massive crowd, Seibert had to settle for a spot where she can see virtually nothing. People have climbed trees and are on top of porta-potties just to catch a glimpse. They've just announced that former President Bill Clinton is on stage.


10:35 a.m.

Anne Seibert is part of a massive crowd walking to the Mall. Security has many roads blocked off. The size of the crowd has caused some people to be pushed and emergency personnel were picking one woman off the ground after she fell down a flight of stairs.

10:05 a.m.

Anne Seibert still sits in a long line of shuttle buses heading toward the national Nall. But she's getting anxious and is worried she will miss part of the ceremony.

9:47 a.m.

Still on the shuttle and in bumper-to-bumper traffic, Seibert spots the Capitol building and gets excited. She also takes the time on the bus to eat a granola bar she brought with her.

9:20 a.m.

Seibert makes it onto a shuttle. People begin chanting "Obama!" Seibert is busy taking pictures of people boarding the shuttle. Shuttles each hold 45 people and are headed for the national Mall.

9:15 a.m.

People boarding the shuttle are being told to back up because people are being trampled. Seibert does not make it onto that shuttle and will wait for the next one.

9:07 a.m.

Seibert is chatting with some people in line. The shuttle still has not arrived.

8:57 a.m.

After being told it was too far for her to walk, security personnel let Anne Seibert into a shorter line for a shuttle.

8:47 a.m.

Saying the lines are too unorganized, Anne Seibert decides to start on the two mile walk. However she needs to ask someone which way the national Mall is.

8:45 a.m.

Anne Seibert calls her husband to check in. She's still in the shuttle line and is considering making the two mile walk to the national Mall instead of waiting.

8:40 a.m.

With long lines formed to board the shuttles, minor disputes break out. People begin shouting for others to move to the back of the line.

8:30 a.m.

Anne Seibert reaches the shuttles after a quarter-mile walk past vendors selling mechansise featuring President-elect Barack Obama.

8:15 a.m.

Anne Seibert of Hagerstown lines up to take the shuttle from RFK stadium to the national Mall. Part of a long line, she says "this is when it gets real."

7:57 a.m.

The buses arrive at RFK Stadium in Washington.

7:47 a.m.

No delays along the George Washington Parkway. Two women on the bus discuss the signs they will hold up during the inauguration ceremony.

7:16 a.m.

Traffic on I-270 south is flowing normally near Gemantown. But signs show that Metro station parking is full at some stops. Most on the bus are napping after waking up early this morning.

6:52 a.m.

The buses pulled off Interstate 270 south at Urbana, Md., to pick up the final group of people before driving to Washington, D.C.

6:07 a.m.

As the buses pulled into the Elks Lodge parking lot, people spilled out of their cars -- some with signs shouting "Yes we can, yes we can."

5:35 a.m.

Kline Tours made stops in Chambersburg and Greencastle, Pa., and was heading toward Hagerstown. More than a dozen cars filled with people were already waiting at the Elks Lodge on Robinwood Drive in Hagerstown for the 6 a.m. arrival of the bus.

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