Local Politics

Crowds clamor for coveted inauguration tickets

Posted January 19, 2009
Updated March 9, 2009

— The halls of the U.S. Senate were packed Monday with people desperate to score the hottest tickets in town – admission to Tuesday's presidential inauguration.

Gary Bussey of Raleigh heard that Sen. Kay Hagen's office might have a few extra, so he traveled from Raleigh, was lucky and got one.

"I'm extremely excited. It"s one of the experiences of a lifetime, a historical event," Bussey said. "Being that (Monday) is Martin Luther King Day, there's no better way to share this weekend, this whole experience."

Crowds seek inauguration tickets Ticket or not, inauguration excites people

A quartet of University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill students wasn't as fortunate.

"It's a little disappointing that we didn't get tickets, but it's amazing that we're here to experience something this monumental. I'm excited either way, ticket or no ticket," student Matt Stevens said.

Like Stevens, most of the people seeking tickets were happy they made the effort to go to Washington for the inauguration.

"They put their lives on hold so they could come up here and be a part of this historic moment," Hagan said. "Granted, they want to get as close as they can, but even if they can't with one of the standing tickets, they're going to be someplace where hopefully they can witness it on a Jumbotron or have their cell phone on a station where they can hear it."

After getting shut out in Hagan's ticket line, Haynes Bunn, an Enloe High School graduate who is studying political science at George Washington University, scrambled over to the office of a New Mexico senator with her roommate and was able to secure tickets.

Richard Lee, who spent part of his afternoon in the hall outside Hagan's office hoping to get a ticket, said he cut his teeth on the civil rights movement. While Monday's celebration of King was special, the Mount Gilead resident said seeing King's dream become a reality Tuesday with the inauguration of Barack Obama as the first African-American president would be fantastic.

"To have been a part of that dream and to actually see it come true, I think, is one of the most important things in my life. I wouldn't miss it for the world, (even) just being in the area," Lee said.


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  • meh2 Jan 20, 2009

    I have some tickets I would like to sell now...

  • woodrowboyd2 Jan 20, 2009

    i cant belive that many people traveled all the way to washington to watch t v or listen to it on a cell phone
    could have saved the money and did that at home
    i cant seem to get what others see here
    every 4 years they head to washington and hinge all their hopes on a man that once hes there hasnt as much control over what will happen in his term as i have
    the congress makes the laws and the president signs them
    so who really runs this country
    we are not supose to go to war unless it is approved in both houses a bill needs 60%passage to be sent for his signature so whats the big deal all you got to say about it i voted for this guy the rest is done by washintons bestthey are best money spenders of things youll never get to use best at lying to you to make you feel important and at election time become your best friend

  • pappy1 Jan 20, 2009

    This is just a drop in the bucket - fasten your selt belts folks. The pillaging of the middle class is just beginning. It's a "cult of personality"

  • howdiditgettothis Jan 19, 2009

    I believe that this and every inauguration ceremony should be FREE and open to anyone who wants to attend.

    I understand that this is an honor and that money will be spent, but how about using good judgement.

    Such wasteful spending seems particularly pompous and wasteful in the face of such a terrible economy.

    Just my opinion.