Tens of thousands of people from across the United States are in the nation's capital Washington, D.C. for the second inauguration of President George W. Bush. VOA's Chris Simkins has the story of some of the people who turned out to witness a part of history.
Spirits were high as thousands of people from across the country braved cold temperatures to line the parade route along Pennsylvania Avenue.
Kathy Sunday came with her family from Virginia. "I think that it is a celebration of our democracy and how we celebrate a new president, whether he be a Democrat or Republican. It is a time for people to come together and celebrate the next four years of a president being in office."
This is Marlene and Howard Mitchell's first inauguration. They came from Texas to take part in all the activities and to see their grandson in the parade. They think this ceremony has special meaning.
"Only in America, I think, we have a peaceful transition from one administration to the next and I think we are all for freedom and that is what it is all about,” said Doctor Mitchell.
His wife added, “And it allows people who want to protest, they have the freedom to say what they want to say and we have the freedom to say what we want to say, but we are free to say it."
There were people along the parade route who were free to say they do not support President Bush. As the president's motorcade passed, demonstrators began chanting anti-Bush slogans and waving signs to protest the war in Iraq.
Lonnie Frank and her friends from Pennsylvania were among those in restricted demonstration zones. They say it is important that voices of protest to the Bush administration are heard. "I would not say they most of the people here are supporters. If you look around the stands they are pretty empty,” said Ms. Frank.
She continued, “The rest of the people are outside standing in the security queues not able to get in because they have shut out the protest, and they make sure we stand in the First Amendment zones so nobody can let President Bush hear that there is any opposition to his ideas."
The protesters did not bother Dave Covolesky and his mother, Norma, from Maryland who came to get a glimpse of President Bush. "This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I was overseas during the last inauguration so I am taking the opportunity this time to come out and show our support."
Ms. Covolesky added, "I think this day is wonderful. I think that is it wonderful for all the people of the United States and across the world that we are able to do this. I am very supportive of the President and I wish him well."
The President and First Lady Laura Bush later showed their appreciation to the thousands of parade watchers as they got out of their limousine to walk and wave to the crowd near the White House.