Our country is preparing for a historic event: the 57th Presidential Inauguration on Monday, January 21, 2013. Iowans will mark this occasion in various ways. Some may travel to Washington to take part in the festivities, while others may kick off the events by participating in the National Day of Service. Below, please find some helpful hints for taking part in the inaugural weekend.
The weekend begins with a National Day of Service on Saturday, January 19th. This is a nationwide event, with events held in each state so that Americans can volunteer in their communities and give back as a nation. For opportunities to participate in your area, please visit: www.2013pic.org/service/serve
Inauguration Day itself is an exciting time in Washington, full of events from the ceremony, to the parade, to the inaugural balls. It will also be a busy time in the City. For Iowans traveling to Washington please be aware that crowds will be plentiful. I advise Iowans to get to Capitol Hill early to go through security, and also make sure all visitors have their ticket and a photo ID handy at all times.
Following the ceremony, the inaugural parade will travel along Pennsylvania Avenue from Capitol Hill to the White House. You do not need tickets to attend just a good spot along the National Mall but will need tickets for bleacher seats. The parade will include performers from all fifty states including the Isiserettes Drill & Drum Corps from Des Moines, who will represent our state in the 1.5 mile march.
The best way to get to the inaugural events is to walk or use public transportation. Officials are expecting large crowds over the three-day weekend, with limited parking and lots of street blockades. Comfortable shoes are a must, and purchasing your Metro fare in advance will save time (and headache) at subway stations. Be sure to visit the Washington Metro Area Transit Authority inauguration page for the latest information on public transportation: www.wmata.com/getting_around/metro_events/inauguration.cfm
Packing light is also advised for any of the day's activities as strollers, signs, coolers, backpacks and large bags, and weapons of any kind are among the items prohibited from the ticketed sections of the ceremony. Learn more about the ceremony and events at the official 2013 Inauguration website at: www.2013pic.org.
While in D.C., be sure to visit some of the other sites as well, including the National Archives, which contains the permanent exhibit of the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence; the American History Museum, which features a collection of First Ladies' inaugural ball gowns, or the Air and Space Museum, which houses the original Wright brothers plane. All of the Smithsonian museums are kid friendly and free of charge. Although the Capitol building will be closed on Inauguration Day, my office offers congressional tours of the complex every day of the week. Visit my website: www.harkin.senate.gov/services/visitdc/ for more information on booking tours through my office.
Once again, I welcome all Iowans who will be traveling to D.C. for this historic inauguration. For those who cannot make the trip, I hope you can take part by participating in the National Day of Service.