Obviously I knew that there were thousands of fellow purple gate ticket holders who, like me, were unable to get into the inauguration, because I was standing in the mob scene yesterday morning with them. But, for some reason, I was still surprised when later in the evening at a fun, low-key election night party, I heard that several people had the same experience. And then the comments just started flowing in on my previous post. People who Googled "inauguration purple gate" got my post at the top of the page--my blog traffic increased by 150%.
On one hand, it is nice to know that Abel and I weren't alone in our disappointing experience. On the other hand, I feel so terrible for the many, many people whose stories were much worse than ours. Thank goodness we weren't actually inside the 3rd street tunnel. I am certain I would have really freaked out. Thank goodness we hadn't spent thousands of dollars to get to Washington, DC for the event. I truly count our blessings and hope that all those other folks are, at some point, able to look back on the day with some positive feelings and not just the bitter disappointment and anger they most certainly were entitled to feel initially.
Here are some updates on the story in general.
1) The saga of the purple gate and purple ticket holders is getting reported in the news media.
The Washington Post has reported it. Laura Sullivan reported the story on NPR. Interesting to note that Sullivan reports that the DC Police take no responsibility for that section, despite the fact that the very few people "in charge" that I did see were indeed DC Police Officers. The Secret Service has no comment (my guess is that they never comment) and the Capitol Police hadn't returned NPR's phone calls for the story.
2) Congressional leaders have taken notice.
The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies issued a statement today saying that the committee "deeply regrets that some ticket holders were not able to get to their ticketed sections, primarily in the purple and blue sections. They promise to "thoroughly examine every aspect...to prevent similar problems."
Alaska Representative Don Young is circulating a "Dear Colleague" letter. While Young would be pretty far down the list of my favorite Members of Congress, his letter reportedly states, "it was a failure in planning and organization which must be explained." The fact that he plans to send it to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA.), chairwoman of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, will certainly make one of my anonymous commenters happy.
4) The story is all over the blogosphere. Seems that many bloggers had purple tickets, including Queen of Spain, Mama Bird Diaries, Technosailor and I'm sure many, many others. Maybe by 2013 they'll be smart enough to give the bloggers tickets to the sections that do work :)
5) Finally, to finish on a light note: purple ticket holders (and others) left out of the ceremony can commiserate on Facebook! Join the "Survivors of the Purple Tunnel of Doom" group. As of this posting there are more than 2,000 members, including yours truly, of course!