Four years ago, thousands of ticket-holders hoping to see the inauguration of the nation’s first African American president failed to get there, shut out of their spots on the U.S. Capitol’s lawn because of security and crowd-control problems.
They included several hundred people with purple-coded tickets who became stuck for hours in the Third Street tunnel, which later became known as the “Purple Tunnel of Doom.” Throughout their long, fruitless wait, they laughed, cried, shivered and, at one point, sang an impromptu chorus of “Lean on Me” — footage that remains on YouTube.
Inauguration officials said they are doing everything they can to ensure that there will not be a similar ticket fiasco for President Obama’s second swearing-in.
This month, they announced that the Third Street tunnel will be closed. They will also be increasing the number of signs directing ticket-holders, adding more civilian volunteers as guides, bringing in backup generators for security checkpoints and establishing a social-media hub where law enforcement agencies can monitor Twitter and other sites for problems as they play out in real time.