Highlights of Reagan inauguration activities

WASHINGTON, Jan. 20, 1981 (UPI) - Some of the highlights and pageantry from the inauguration of Ronald Wilson Reagan as the nation's 40th president Jan. 20, 1981: 7:40 a.m.: Bob Howard of Newport Beach, Calif. and his wife Cleva wait at the Capitol to get to their section of seats. The Howards are among 40 Orange County couples who chartered a plane for the inauguration.

7:50 a.m.: Workers swarm over the inaugural platform and stands. About 200 reporters, technicians and others have gathered at the stands and another 100 are in nearby media trailers. Martial music plays over the public address system.


8 a.m.: A weak sun tries to penetrate high clouds. Temperatures, headed for the unusually balmy 50's, reached 41. The first parade watchers have begun to gather along the Pennsylvania Avenue route.

8:50 a.m.: At 13 1/2 Street and Pennsylvania, Martin Robinson, his wife Mary and daughter Sara of Fairfax, Va., set out folding chairs and listen to the radio for news of the hostages as they await the parade.


8:30 a.m.: The subway nearest the Capitol was jammed. Washingtonians apparently heeded pleas to use public transportation instead of cars. Many in the long exit lines were tourists, unfamiliar with the controversial computer "farecard" system used in Washington.

8:40 a.m.: A dozen university students sing "Hail to the Chief" as they exit the subway, saying they want to get the celebration going. "Yeah Millard Fillmore, remember him? Kennedy in "85!" shouts Mike Allen of Detroit.

8:50 a.m.: About 40 Metropolitan Police cluster around a patrol car in front of the J. Edgar Hoover FBI Building, a block-long poured concrete monolith. About a dozen young anti-Reaganites wait at the curb planning a demonstration later. One, Mark Paster, 29, of Washington, wears a sweatshirt saying: "Impeach Reagan."

Vendors are doing little business, except for those selling coffee. Eight Secret Service agents pass by, scanning the spectators and passerby.

At the Capitol, a subtle touch linked the inauguration with the hostage crisis. Yellow ribbons were hung on wire cable used to rope off seating areas.

9:23 a.m.: Vice President-elect George Bush arrives at St. John's Episcopal Church, also known as the church of presidents, for a pre-inaugural service.

9:26 a.m.: President-elect Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan emerge from Blair House and wave to spectators. "I hear the planes at the end of the runway," says Reagan, when asked if he is cheered by the latest hostage news.


9:30 a.m.: Some Capitol policemen fidgit with their white gloves, an unaccustomed addition to their uniforms. One officer outside the Senate chamber was inspired to do a brief imitation of Al Jolson.

9:30 a.m.: Inauguration ticketholders, allowed into roped off Capitol seating sections at 9 a.m., move unhurriedly to their assigned sections. One without a ticket and planning to watch from behind an outer fence was Maj. Steve Hyde, a Lancaster, Ohio, Air Force officer living in Columbia, Md., while assigned to the Pentagon. "It's a historic event," he said. "This is my first opportunity of being in this part of the country to attend an inauguration. I think everybody ought to if they have the opportunity."

9:32 a.m.: Military aides busy themselves with final arrangements on the presidential platform. Each of the nearly 200 cushioned VIP chairs on the inner semicircle of the inaugural platform held a blue lap blanket. The hundreds of cold metal chairs on the outer rim, for members of Congress, had no blankets. A machine gun nest of camera lenses pointed at the podium from a rail on the camera stand opposite the podium.

Police estimate at least 100,000 spectators will turn out for the parade, and said if the weather stays good there could be 200,000.


Anti-Reaganites on the parade route hoist a lime green banner that says in dripping red paint, "Ronnie Horror Show Change the nation before annihilation." It bears a portrait of Reagan with Dracula-like fangs.

David Smith, 38, who drove to Washington through a snowstorm with his family from Nashua, N.H.,to witness the inaugural parade, said, "This is the most significant inauguration since 1932 (when Franklin Roosevelt became president). I think we're going to see changes in which the White House will be run better. People had realized in pure dollars and cents that you've got to do more for yourself."

The Capitol South south subway station was so jammed that attendants abandoned the fare card system and simply herded the exiting masses through the turnstiles. None of the three escalators worked, and some who stopped to pant muttered the escalators were operated by "Democrats."

9:45 a.m.: A man carrying a sign with an obscene message for Reagan walks down F Street.

9:54 a.m.: The president-elect and vice president-elect and their wives emerge from St. John's Episcopal Church. A large crowd gathered outside strains for a view of the incoming president. Reagan and his wife return to Blair House.

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