Here is what happened:
We left our apartment and walked approximately 3.5 miles to get to the south side of the Capitol (we had to take a roundabout way and walk through the 3rd St. Tunnel).
When we finally arrived near our ticket gate we saw a line and asked a volunteer if this was our line. She said yes and "go to the back, it is about a block down the road". Ha!
As we were walking to the end, we kept asking volunteers and people in line if we had the same color tickets and they ensured us they did. We followed the line "to the end" for almost an hour. It snaked around 11 blocks (another mile of walking?).
When we finally reached the end of the line we did not move for almost 30 minutes. When we did move, it was about an inch and it took another 5 minutes to move another inch. The line also stretched two or so blocks behind us. There was no way we were going to make it to the front by the time the ceremony started.
At 10:30 we decided to cut our losses and hop on the metro (our line was stopped in front of L'Enfant Plaza) so we could make it home in time to at least watch the inauguration on TV. Because the metro was only stopping at certain places we had to get off at Metro Center and walk another mile. We decided to stop at a neighborhood bar to warm up and get some food and we were able to catch everything on TV, but it was not the same as experiencing the excitement first hand!
Sad and Freezing
The problem was that no one really knew what was going on and the volunteers had no way of communicating with the front of the line and were unable to keep everything orderly. This resulted in people waiting in our line with the wrong tickets, and no tickets, and who knows what else. What needed to happen was some kind of pre-ticket screening and blockade so that only (x color) ticket holders were allowed past a certain point. Ugh! Plus there was only one gate for all the silver ticket holders. Really? The lack of organization, signage, and communication really ruined the experience for a lot of people.