OOIDA members on the ground in DC amid pre-inauguration chaos

| 1/19/2009

With President-elect Barack Obama’s swearing-in less than 24 hours away in Washington, DC, two OOIDA members are on the ground there amid all the pre-inauguration chaos on Monday, Jan. 19.

Donald Snare, an OOIDA member from Gainesville, GA, has been in DC for more than a week now. He hauled the fuselage of an Air Force One replica, which is on display as part of a presidential exhibit.

Tim Barrett Sr., an OOIDA member from Dunlap, TN, just arrived in the city on Sunday, Jan. 18. He hauled the giant LED screen that will allow spectators to view Obama’s swearing in ceremony.

Snare told Land Line Magazine on Monday that the city is definitely starting to fill up as an estimated 2 million people are expected to descend on the city to see the swearing-in of the 44th president.

“From last night until today there is a different atmosphere here,” he said. “I am starting to see traffic gridlock, and it’s only going to get worse as they close off more streets around here. The level of security here is impressive.”

Besides hauling and setting up the replica, Snare said he is also serving as a “tour guide” of sorts while he’s there. He’s answering the questions that people passing through the exhibit might have about the plane’s history.

“I have been asked by people several times whether I am a pilot,” he said. “I tell them, ‘I am the ground pilot for this plane because that’s as high as this plane’s ever going to get.’ ”

Barrett said his arrival in DC went “surprisingly smooth” on Sunday. He said he was fortunate to follow another trucker, who already knew the route into where he needed to set up at the National Mall. He hauled the screen on a specially designed 50-foot trailer.

“I joke to people that it took me longer to get through security than it took for me to drive here,” Barrett told Land Line on Jan. 19.

He said they spent all day Sunday setting up the screen and running tests to make sure everything is working properly. Barrett said they plan to raise the giant screen into the air on Monday.

“It is like a zoo here today, but it definitely has been an interesting experience,” Barrett said.

– By Clarissa Kell-Holland, staff writer