By Andrew Damstedt
Both the blue states and red states will be watching the nation?s capitol this week as President Bush is inaugurated for his second term in office ? and some BYU students will be there in the middle of all the activity.
BYU students interning with the Washington Seminar program will be able to see the inauguration events personally. Most students who participate in the program stay in the Milton A. Barlow Center, which is near George Washington University.
Sarah Anderson, a BYU student and White House intern volunteered at the youth concert Tuesday night, where 3 Doors Down, Hilary Duff, Ruben Studdard and Fuel performed.
?I am volunteering so I can get in for free and also to network and take advantage of the opportunities I have here that I will probably never have
again,? Anderson said. ?It”s one of the most exciting times to be in D.C.?
The 55th Presidential Inauguration kicked off Tuesday at the MCI Center with a salute to the Armed Forces.
Anderson described Washington D.C. this week as chaos.
?Everything is really high security,? she said. ?There are security guards everywhere. During certain days I am not allowed to go to my office building. So it is supposed to be the most secure inauguration ever.?
Dustin Roses, a BYU intern with the House Ways and Means Subcommittee also noticed that security is very tight and there are a lot of prohibited items not allowed at any event.
?If you watch it on TV you will still see everything that you see in person, and you will avoid the massive crowds,? Roses said. ?But the tickets look really fancy and are worth framing.?
Everyone in D.C. will get the day off from work and school on Thursday because it is a citywide holiday. Because of the inauguration parade most of the streets near the White House and Capitol will be closed.
?I really hope they have an Air Force flyby, preferably with red, white and blue exhaust,? Roses said. ?The parade is supposed to be a military type thing. So I am really excited to see a real live military parade.?
Muriel McClain, an intern with the House Committee on International Relations, said she plans on taking part in history as she watches President Bush being sworn in.
?I just want to be there for the swearing-in, I think that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to be so close and to see the actual ceremony,? said Kelli Larson, an intern with the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia.
All of the interns said the experience of living in D.C. has given them a greater appreciation for the political process.
?Living on the same street as the White House here in the Barlow Center is an amazing opportunity to learn about the pulse of our nation”s political system,? McClain said.
Fun Facts and Figures about Presidential Inaugurations
April 30, 1789 — George Washington, takes oath of office and pronounces, ?So help me God? afterwards setting the precedence.
March 4, 1809 — James Madison, first inaugural ball to be held on the day of the inauguration.
March 4, 1837 — Martin Van Buren, first use of floats in an inaugural parade.
April 15, 1865 — Andrew Johnson, first instance of the Chief Justice administering the oath of office to the vice president upon the death of the president.
March 4, 1921 — Warren G. Harding, first president to ride to and from his inauguration in an automobile.
January 20, 1937 — Franklin D. Roosevelt, first president to be inaugurated on the January 20th date, a change made by the 20th Amendment to the Constitution.
November 22, 1963 — Lyndon B. Johnson, the oath was administered in an airplane.
January 20, 1985 — Ronald Reagan, first inauguration that fell on a Super Bowl Sunday.
All the information was taken from the Official Presidential Inauguration Web site http://www.inaugural05.com/history/Facts.aspx