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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 17, 2008


Senator Announces Winners from the Southern Tier—Each of the Winners Will Receive Two Tickets to the Swearing-In Ceremony

Nearly 150,000 New Yorkers Entered the Lottery to Attend the Historic Inauguration in Washington D.C.—175 Received Tickets to Inaugural Swearing-In

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today announced the Southern Tier winners of his statewide lottery for tickets to President-Elect Barack Obama’s historic inauguration. Nearly 150,000 New Yorkers entered the lottery. Schumer’s office selected 175 winners from across New York State, each of whom will receive two general admission tickets to the inauguration to be held on January 20th, 2009.  Schumer announced his lottery a week after the November 4th election and said that, because of the limited number of tickets, the lottery was the only fair way to distribute the tickets his office received.
“I am so pleased that these Southern Tier residents will soon be headed to Washington D.C. to celebrate the bright future that is ahead of us,” Schumer said. “After an historic election season and the extraordinary nomination of Barack Obama, it is time for America to celebrate the bright future that is ahead of us. Although I wish all of America could attend the Inauguration, there is only so much space, and I ask you to join me in congratulating these lucky Upstate New Yorkers for winning their tickets.”
In total, 175 New Yorkers won tickets to President-Elect Barack Obama’s inauguration. The Southern Tier winners break down as follows: 2 winners in Broome, 2 in Otsego and 1 in Tioga Counties.
As the country prepares for this historic celebration, police are expecting record crowds in Washington, DC, for the week of January 19th.  Because of this, and in light of the Inauguration Day schedule, tickets will be distributed in Senator Schumer’s Washington DC office on Monday, January 19, between 10:00am and 5:00pm.  For winners who find it impossible to arrive in January 19, other options for a limited ticket distribution on Tuesday, January 20th  will be considered.  
The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies (in charge of tickets and planning) has provided the following guidance for Inauguration Day: “Arrive early for required security screening and anticipate large crowds.  Gates to the Inaugural Ceremony open at 9 a.m. and the musical prelude begins at 10 a.m.  Be prepared to pass through several security screenings before reaching the section indicated on your ticket.  There will be no check room for prohibited items.”  The following items will be strictly prohibited inside the gates:
  • Firearms and ammunition (either real or simulated)
  • Explosives of any kind (including fireworks)
  • Knives, blades, or sharp objects (of any length)
  • Mace and/or pepper spray
  • Sticks or poles
  • Pockets or hand tools, such as “Leatherman”
  • Packages
  • Backpacks
  • Large bags
  • Duffel bags
  • Suitcases
  • Thermoses
  • Coolers
  • Strollers
  • Umbrellas
  • Laser pointers
  • Signs
  • Posters
  • Animals (other than service animals)
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Other items that may pose a threat to the security of the event as determined by and at the discretion of the security screeners
Even the event of rain, umbrellas will not be permitted within the security perimeter. It is recommended that attendees bring ponchos or rain coats.
Every person wishing admittance to the Inaugural Ceremony, including children, must have a ticket.  Individuals without valid tickets will not be admitted.  Tickets are color-coded to facilitate entrance to the ceremony. Entrance will be granted only at the gate indicated on your ticket.
Heavy traffic and road closures should be expected on Inauguration Day.  The DC Metro will open at 4:00am on January 20, and attendees are encouraged to take advantage of this service.  More information can be found on the DC Metrorail Inaugural website:  Roads around the Capital Complex will be closed, so driving up to the gates will not be possible.  If you need to drop-off someone, as close to the ceremony as possible, please follow the directions of the Capitol Police.
In total, there are about 240,000 tickets available for the swearing-in ceremony. The 56th quadrennial Presidential Inauguration will take place on January 20, 2008. The day begins with a parade and procession to the nation’s Capitol. President Bush will accompany President-elect Obama to the Capitol following a parade which will feature marching bands, marching units, and other performers chosen by the Armed Forces Inaugural Committee. Immediately following the parade, Vice-President Elect Biden will be sworn in on the Inaugural platform.
President-Elect Obama will take his oath of office on the west front of the United States Capitol, a tradition which began with President Ronald Reagan and has continued ever since. The oath of office, noted in Article II, Section I of the United States Constitution is as follows, “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." The oath is administered by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, John Roberts.
Following the swearing-in ceremony, President Obama will give his Inaugural address, which traditionally outlines the President’s plan for America. The custom of delivering an address on Inauguration Day started with George Washington's inauguration on April 30, 1789. After taking his oath of office on the balcony of Federal Hall in New York City, Washington proceeded to the Senate chamber where he read a speech before members of Congress and other dignitaries. His second Inauguration took place in Philadelphia on March 4, 1793, in the Senate chamber of Congress Hall. Washington gave the shortest Inaugural address on record, 135 words, before repeating the oath of office. This tradition has continued to this day with every President since Washington delivering an Inaugural address.
Other Inaugural events, such as luncheons and the Inaugural Ball, are off limits to the public, but public festivities will be taking place throughout the city. And although Inaugural traditions have changed through the years, their basic foundation has remained unchanged. The American Presidential Inauguration Ceremony, with its speeches and attendant festivities, has represented both national renewal and continuity of leadership for the past two hundred and will continue to do so into the future
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