Purple Gates, Cellular Networks and the 44th President of the United States

Today was a legendary day in Washington, D.C. as President Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States. The ceremony itself was largely successful with only a hiccup in the delivery of the 35 word Oath of Office – a snafu that was as much President Barack Obamas fault as it was Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.

The inaugural speech was well postured and delivered, worded well in fine Obama fashion, but was not reminiscent, as some expected, of John F. Kennedy who said, “Ask not what your country can do for you; Ask what you can do for your country” or FDRs famous words, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” as he took office in 1933 amidst strong economic concerns in the midst of the Great Depression.

The execution of security and official communications outside the perimeter was abysmal though, ranking extremely low on the Aaron Brazell assessment evaluation of official communications. As West Capitol Lawn ticket holders designated to the “purple area”, we eventually abandoned hope of actually gaining entrance and walked nearly a mile to get obstructed view spots near the Washington Monument shortly before the ceremony began. We were not the only ones affected by the “purple bug” yet we managed to jump ship early enough. Others were not so lucky.

On another inaugural technology note, it seems that AT&T and T-Mobile were mostly down in and around the mall. Sprint customers on the mall complained of spotty issues. As a Verizon Wireless customer, I never had a problem with coverage. Clearly, there is something to be said for a non-GSM network.

Other than that, the experience was a blast, if slightly maddening. History was made. People were mostly friendly and in a good mood which made the experience fun. And of course, I spent the time with my favorite mouthy blogger of all time, Erin Kotecki Vest.

For now, enjoy some pictures I took over the past two days of Inaugural activities.

In and Around the Capitol, Jan 19 2009

Inauguration Day

Inauguration Day

Inauguration Day

Inauguration Day

Inauguration Day

In and Around the Capitol, Jan 19 2009

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Aaron Brazell

Aaron Brazell is a Baltimore, MD-based WordPress developer, A Sr. Web Engineer at 10up, a co-founder at WP Engine, WordPress core contributor and author. He wrote the book WordPress Bible and has been publishing on the web since 2000. You can follow him on Twitter, on his personal blog and view his photography at The Aperture Filter.

5 thoughts on “Purple Gates, Cellular Networks and the 44th President of the United States

  1. Great photos… were you able to see the inauguration or the parade at all? With 1.5MM people there I can imagine it was just a little hectic. I would have loved to be there, but there was virtually no chance of me getting a decent view if I could even get there and get a ticket. Still, I bet it was exciting to just be there with so many other people for such a monumental event.

  2. The Mall was general admission and that’s where we ended up after the purple gate fiasco that would have got us close to the Capitol since we had purple gate tickets. We did not have parade tix. :\

  3. We,too9 got in line in the tunnel to the purple gate at 5:15 am and left about 9:30 when the line only had moved about a block and we still had a mile to go. The were people stretched through the tunnel., I’m sure they could not have had that many purple tickets, yet people passed us showing their purple stubs! we3 went to an office to watch it on tv and were fortunate enough to end u0 at the Midwestern ball and a glimpse of President Obama and First Lady Michelle for a 5 minute dance appearance. Yesterday were were able to walk on the rotunda where the Presedint had stood the day before. I saw where my space should have been!

  4. Great shots, Aaron! I’m so sorry you & Erin got stuck at the purple gates from hell. IF ONLY I HAD GIVEN YOU THE BLUE TICKETS! ARGH!

    The funny thing is, I know people with purple tickets who got in line at 7:30 & later & actually got in. I’m not sure what the heck was going on, but it wasn’t good.

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