Unbelievable!! No looking in the eye, (Are they afraid we'd see the
truth?) no quick movements, and no crosses, coffins, pets, bicycles,
paper mache figures.
Whose inauguration is this, anyway?
What Bush needs is an audience of robots.
Y o u ' r e i n v i t e d ?
By: Joan Lowy
These are two of the various types of inaugural tickets to be
distributed starting Monday at the Capitol in Washington. Associated
Be ready for metal detectors, personal body searches and the highest
security in inauguration history
WASHINGTON - The nation's 55th presidential inauguration, the first to
be held since 9/11, will take place this month under perhaps the
heaviest security of any in U.S. history.
Dozens of federal and local law enforcement agencies and military
commands are planning what they describe as the heaviest possible
security. Virtually everyone who gets within eyesight of the president
either during the Jan. 20 inauguration ceremony at the U.S. Capitol or
the inaugural parade down Pennsylvania Avenue later in the day will
first go through a metal detector or receive a body pat-down.
Thousands of police officers and military personnel are being brought
to Washington from around the country for the four-day event.
Sharpshooters will be deployed on roofs, while bomb-sniffing dogs will
work the streets. Electronic sensors will be used to detect chemical or
Anti-abortion protesters have been warned to leave their crosses at
home. Parade performers will have security escorts to the bathroom, and
they've been ordered not to look directly at President Bush or make any
sudden movements while passing the reviewing stand.
"It's going to be very different from past inaugurals," said Contricia
Sellers-Ford, spokeswoman for the U.S. Capitol Police, which is
responsible for the Capitol and grounds. "A lot of the security
differences will not be detected by the public - there will be a lot of
behind the scenes implementation - but the public will definitely see
more of a police presence."
The Department of Homeland Security has designated the inaugural a
National Special Security Event under a protocol introduced by
President Bill Clinton that calls for especially heavy security during
events of national significance at which large numbers of government
officials and dignitaries are present.
There have been 20 previously designated special security events,
including Bush's first inaugural, last year's Democratic and Republican
conventions, former President Ronald Reagan's funeral and the 2002
Under the protocol, the Secret Service takes the lead in drawing up the
security plan, while the FBI gathers intelligence and the Federal
Emergency Management Agency oversees response scenarios to possible
The Secret Service also works closely with the Defense Department, the
National Park Service, and local police agencies, especially the
Washington police department and the Capitol police. About 40 agencies
The Joint Force Headquarters National Capital Region, which was created
two years ago to bring coordination to the many disparate military
units in the Washington area, will provide more than 4,000 troops to
Washington, D.C., police chief Charles Ramsey has sent invitations to
police departments across the country inviting them to send squads of
officers to help with inauguration security. The federal government is
paying for officers' hotels, meals and air travel.
Several thousand officers are expected, Ramsey said. That includes
squads from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, Seattle,
Minneapolis, Chicago, Bradenton, Fla., Charlotte and Greensboro, N.C.,
the North Carolina state highway patrol, several law enforcement
agencies in Texas and other parts of the country.
"This is the first post 9/11 (inauguration) so obviously there are some
more security concerns this time than in past years," Ramsey said.
The extra officers from around the country will free up Washington
police officers so that they can form "mobile platoon civil disturbance
units" to prevent protest demonstrations from getting out of hand,
Groups planning demonstrations during the inauguration festivities are
already smarting from security restrictions. Anti-war protesters with
the A.N.S.W.E.R Coalition have complained that large sections of the
parade route have been set aside for Bush's political contributors and
supporters and will be closed to the general public.
The anti-abortion Christian Defense Coalition, which is also planning a
demonstration, has threatened to sue the government because the Secret
Service recently added crosses to its list of objects that are banned
from the parade route.
"I think it's censorship no matter how you look at it," said the Rev.
Patrick Mahoney, director of the defense coalition.
Besides weapons, other items on the banned list include coolers,
folding chairs, bicycles, pets, papier-mache objects, displays such as
puppets, mock coffins, props and "any items determined to be a
potential safety hazard."
Parade performers said they also have been warned to expect
"They've told us right out that it's going to be very, very tight,"
said Peter LaFlamme, executive director of the Spartans Drum and Bugle
Corps in Nashua, N.H. LaFlamme said he has been receiving almost daily
phone calls from inaugural organizers to apprise him of new security
Thousands of performers - marching bands, color guards, pompon dancers,
hand bell-ringers, drill teams on horseback and Civil War re-enactors -
will be bused early in the morning to the Pentagon parking lot across
the Potomac in Virginia. While performers disembark and go through
metal detectors, bomb-sniffing dogs will search the buses.
Then everybody will get back on the buses for a trip to the National
Mall, where they will spend most of the day in heavily guarded warming
tents. Participants have been warned that they will not be allowed to
leave the tents except to go to portable toilets accompanied by a
Other instructions given performers include a warning not to look
directly at Bush while passing the presidential reviewing stand, not to
look to either side and not to make any sudden movements.
"They want you to just look straight ahead," said Danielle Adam,
co-director of the Mid American Pompon All Star Team from Michigan,
which also performed in the 2001 inaugural parade.
"Last time we went security was really tight," Adam said. "This time we
got almost like a book of things we needed to fill out beforehand."
ŠThe News-Herald 2005