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A Grand Day, Woven From Little Moments

A Bus Driver With a Short Route, Volunteers Without Apples and a President Made of Snow -- All Had Stories of Their Own

Friday, January 21, 2005; Page A20

Dawn, 16th and I streets NW

Daniel Green, a Metro bus driver for 17 years, reported for work at 3:15 a.m. -- not to drive his regular route, the S2 up and down 16th Street, but to drive the same 20 feet of I Street over and over again.

Green's job was to park his bus sideways across 16th and move it whenever an official vehicle needed to pass through the aluminum barricades a block from St. John's Episcopal Church, where President Bush would attend a morning prayer service.


The inaugural parade heads up Pennsylvania Avenue from the Capitol to the White House. A long list of items was banned from the parade zone, including cans, backpacks and fruit. (Marvin Joseph -- The Washington Post)

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Twenty feet forward, 20 feet back, 20 feet forward, 20 feet back, too many times to keep track of.

"Oh, I can't count 'em!" he called cheerfully from the driver's seat.

He always volunteers to work on Inauguration Day, he said, "because I like to see the people, the faces."

-- Caryle Murphy

8:30 a.m., 16th and I NW

Most of the invited guests were seated in St. John's on Lafayette Square when a stern-faced man with an earpiece strode from the church to the barricade. There, he met another stern-faced man who had emerged from a parked car, carrying the goods: a long black fur coat.

The handoff took place.

Holding the garment at arm's length, as if it were a papal robe, the first stern-faced man returned to the church, where he passed it to another man, who took it inside.

"Mrs. Mineta's," the first stern-faced man replied to a query, a smile nearly disarranging his demeanor.

So the wife of Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta found the church a little chilly?

"Apparently so," he said.

-- Caryle Murphy

9:45 a.m., Seventh and D NW

"Excuse me!" cried the woman in the wool coat and fur collar, approaching a D.C. police officer who was helping preside over a huge crowd at the security checkpoint. "These people don't have tickets, I assure you."

She motioned to a group of protesters and their signs and asked, "Can't you get them out of line?"

The officer only shrugged, leaving it to spectators nearby to explain that the general public also was allowed to attend the ceremony. Annoyed, the woman turned to rejoin her friends.

"Thank you," the officer mouthed silently at her departing back.

-- Leef Smith

10 a.m., Seventh and D NW

Bush protesters and supporters traded barbs -- "Bush is a warmonger!" and "Support our troops!" -- as they waited in a massive crowd to pass through the checkpoint to the parade route.

But after an hour together in the cold, they began to chant with a single voice:

"Let us in! Let us in!"

-- Leef Smith

10:40 a.m., 12th and Pennsylvania NW


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