US & World

Security is tight in the nation's capital for the presidential Inauguration

KPCC's Brian Watt will watch the inaugural ceremonies from along the west side of the Capitol Mall. Brian talked with Morning Edition host Steve Julian about what kind of security measures he faced this morning.

Brian Watt: Members of Congress who normally can drive their cars straight into, under their office buildings, into a parking lot, had to go through three security checkpoints. The last one involved a bomb-sniffing dog. There are some members of Congress who slept in their offices last night rather than deal with the hassle of driving through the crowds.

And once you have tickets for seating on the west lawn of the Capitol, you get them, you stood in line for about a half an hour. A line that started on the west lawn of the Capitol, but that stretched all the way back into the Rayburn House office building.

And then you go through security, and once you get through security, you basically have to hold your ticket up at all times so that various members of the military can see them constantly. And so it's just been a constant, constant checkpoint, trying to move, essentially getting used to waiting in lines to go very, very short distances.

Steve Julian: So where will you actually be, Brian, during the inauguration?

Watt: Well, I am in section 12, orange. And that is on the House of Representatives side of the Capitol. It's a seated section, for which I am lucky, even though the seats could be very, very cold at this point.

And I think it's sort of a first come, first serve section. You've got to get in there, and then you get your seat. So that's where I (unintelligible).

As we get closer, I think maybe you can hear the music coming up behind me, that's already started, this musical prelude, and it's pretty exciting. And, you know, I'm hoping to have a pretty good view here.

Julian: What does this mean for you personally?

Watt: Oh, you know, I graduated from college in 1990, and the first jobs that I took out of college really involved getting people to vote and to participate in the American political process. And this is just really, really gratifying to see that people know that votes count, and that even once you voted, there is still a lot of interesting involvement in the process.

So, it's very, very inspiring. It's sort of a long, long journey. I really didn't know what would be possible in my lifetime, and I'm just kind of glad a moment like this is.

Julian: Brian Watt, thanks very much.

Watt: Thank you, Steve.