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Seeking a Sliver of History, No Obstacle Too Formidable

About a half-hour later -- as the parade began -- parade workers opened to the public a block of bleachers on Pennsylvania Avenue between 12th and 13th streets that they had been reserving for people with tickets. Enterline got a spot to watch her grandsons march, but she said she would have tried to get tickets if she had known she needed them.

"Someone told me they got tickets from their congressman. It never occurred to me I needed to call my congressman," she said.

An Army sergeant at a guard station at Seventh and D streets NW attempts to give directions to individuals amid a throng of spectators, reporters and people attempting to get to their jobs downtown. (Preston Keres -- The Washington Post)

High black gates and an army of security highlighted the border between real Washington and inaugural Washington.

Inside the security zone was a world of passion and pageantry -- costumed demonstrators, flags, police cordons and glistening rows of tubas. All signs of normal life were absent: the ice cream store, the bank, the camera store all closed. Even the newspapers in the boxes were a few days old.

If people had come to the inauguration to display their sentiments to Washington, Washington wasn't there -- except for the very persistent, that is.

The Spinettas' long inaugural journey seemed typical.

It began with Nancy's inspiration. Although she leans Democrat, she said, "This isn't about Bush. It isn't about politics. It's a part of history."

The family arrived downtown via Metro about 1:45 p.m., and the inconveniences began soon afterward.

Clued in early on that their stroller would never pass security muster, Lawrence decided to trek up to Dupont Circle to leave it at his office.

There were several protesters in the long security line, but they were humorous and though Lawrence is a Republican and the couple's 4-year-old is in the Bush camp, they found the protests more theatrical than threatening.

There were the "Billionaires for Bush," dressed in tuxedos and top hats, waving signs that said, "Corporations are people, too." There were guys wearing Bush and Cheney masks.

"The kids loved it," Lawrence said, and Nancy enjoyed the political jibes aimed at her Republican husband.

Then, just as they were approaching the long-awaited security tent to pass into the parade area, about 40 protesters in gas masks stormed the gates, they said.

There was some pushing and shouting, and the children clung to their parents. Suddenly, officials decided to close the security gate -- permanently.

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