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Views from the inauguration's sidelines

Weekend is full of memorable moments
regardless of people's politics, perspective

January 21, 2001
Web posted at: 6:01 PM EST (2301 GMT)

Student News Archive

(CNN) -- What's it like to be at an inauguration? The answer depends on whom you ask and when you ask them.

If you asked Tim Kuklinski, 16, of the Papillion-La Vista High School marching band near Omaha, Nebraska, what it was like, you'd get one answer at 2 a.m. Saturday and an entirely different one at 4 p.m. Tim stood out in pouring, frigid rain -- a degree or 2 cooler and it would have been snow -- in a snug, spongy band uniform for about 2 1/2 hours before getting to perform for the new president. At that point, he said, "I'm just ready for this to be over."

story.bush.parade.jpg
President George W. Bush watches the inaugural parade from his viewing stand  

But after playing his clarinet just yards away from President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, getting a wave from both, and after returning to a toasty bus, he said, "That was so tight."

If you were a protester trying to get noticed by the president in his motorcade, your experience was less than tight. Well, the guy who threw an egg and hit the presidential limousine had a "tight" moment, but now he's locked tightly behind bars.

 VIDEO
CNN NEWSROOM's Jason Bellini reports on the transition of power in Washington

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 ON THE SCENE
Jason Bellini: Protests at the Bush inauguration
 

Thousands of protesters held behind a riot-gear cordon of police Saturday didn't get the access they were hoping for, of course. There was no stopping the new president from completing the final stretch to the White House, but they did hope to remind him during his ride down Pennsylvania Avenue that their struggle will continue.

Bush supporters enjoyed a weekend in which Washington was all theirs. Every major venue in town hosted an affair to celebrate the guy coming in and Clinton going out. The president and first lady Laura Bush stopped by no less than eight inaugural balls and two other parties Saturday night. Bush was no better dancer by the end of the night, but he has four years to work on that.

All in all, Inauguration Day was remarkable. Even after more than 200 years, it's still awe-inspiring that political foes can smile, ride to the Capitol in a limousine together and speak well of one another on the day the U.S. Constitution requires the reins of power to pass from one to another.

story.flag.parade.jpg
From protest to parade, it all happened on the way to the Capitol  

The day is steeped in tradition, down to the smallest detail. For instance, the outgoing president and chief of staff leave notes on their desks for the new guys when they arrive -- words of encouragement and advice.

In the end, Inauguration Day doesn't glorify the victor so much as it celebrates that the experiment of democracy goes on for another four years.



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Candy Crowley's spectacular view of the inauguration
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Despite January weather, inaugural parade aims to 'celebrate America's spirit'
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A teen guide to the Bush years
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RELATED SITES:
White House
Presidential Inaugural Committee 2001

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