Happy new year! I apologize for being away for several months, but applying to graduate schools took up more of my time than I expected. Now I am back, just in time for the inauguration.
This past weekend I decided to take a walk on the National Mall. As I was walking past the Capitol Building, I ran into a few friends who wanted to walk all the way to Lincoln, so I decided to accompany them. Walking on the Mall with less than a week to go before the inauguration was an interesting experience. As expected, there were many barriers and portalets just like the 4th of July. However, unlike preparation for the fourth, there were also new constructions, such as large white mats to protect the grass, a temporary building that I guess is a press center, and a large stage at Lincoln.
Visible preparations for the Inauguration have been happening since November. This is when the area in front of the White House was blocked off in order to build a grandstand. I can only guess that the area on the West Lawn of the Capitol Building was blocked off around the same time, to build the grand stand there, but I did not walk by the West Lawn until just before the holidays. Finally, bleachers have slowly but surely been popping up along the parade route as well.
This is my first inauguration since I moved to DC, and my guess is that these preparations are standard. As are the road closings, which are set to begin early tomorrow morning. However, on my run this morning, I had to turn around at 2nd and East Capitol because the large black fence blocked the sidewalk. Given the vocal views by both supporters and opponents of the new administration, I am hopeful that all of this preparation along the Mall, the parade route, and the major venues will help make this a peaceful event.
That said, my plan is to bunker down and not leave my apartment on Inauguration Day.