Thursday, January 22, 2009

Thousands headed for Inauguration trapped in "Purple Tunnel of Doom"

Hapless crowd waits in "Purple Tunnel of Doom" as Obama speaks

Not everyone was happy at the Obama Inauguration. Thousands of holders of the much-coveted 240,000 tickets, which supposedly gave them entry to prized locations for the festivities, were instead marooned for hours, unable to move into or out of the Mall. Stuck, cold and frustrated, they missed the Oath, the Inaugural Address, the whole shebang.

Ticket holders were each assigned to a color-coded section (Yellow, Blue, Purple, etc.) and told to go through security at a specific gate around the Capitol. Most of the trouble affected those with purple or blue tickets. Thousands of the "Purple People" were packed inside the 3rd Street Tunnel from which they failed to emerge until after the ceremonies were over.

Temporary denizens of this "Purple Tunnel of Doom" included Obama foreign policy advisors, campaign volunteers and journalists, as well as whole families who travelled far to be on hand for the historic occasion. At least 1,500 of them have joined a Facebook group, "Survivors of the Purple Tunnel of Doom," to share their experiences and console each other.

The Inaugural Committee apologized, attributing such a huge SNAFU to the huge crowds (not as if huge crowds weren't expected or anything!), and Dianne Feinstein, who chaired the Inauguration and had overseen the ticket arrangements, promised a full investigation.

It would come with ill grace to suggest that those millions of us who watched the affair on TV had better seats.

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