Inaugural With Focus on King, diversity

The Washington Times

By Paul Bedard

The two days of festivities on the Mall leading up to President Clinton's second inauguration on Jan. 20 will be dedicated to showing diversity in American history and will be capped with a commemoration of Martin Luther King.

"This is to reflect all of America,' said Terence R. McAuliffe, co-chairman of the Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC).

In the first display of that diversity theme, Mr. McAuliffe yesterday unveiled the logo for the "American Journey inaugural. It shows an American flag made from artistically torn paper in red, white and blue. The blue field is decorated with three human figures -- one white, one black and one brown.

"It's a way of symbolizing America,' said PIC spokesman Mi- chael Gordon.

Conscious of criticism that too many events require admission fees and that tickets will be sold only to major Democratic donors, PIC officials yesterday tried to shift focus to the two days of free events on the Mall on Jan. 18-19. In seven heated pavilions on the Mall between Seventh and 14th streets, PIC will feature top musicians playing tunes heard in Washington from the first days of the republic, historical speakers, food from the nation's regional cuisines and a "technology playground."

Brian Maizrich of Digitai Evolution, a New York-based company that produces Web pages and other computer-related items, said the technology playground will feature virtual-reality games and Internet e-mail connections with the president and vice president.

The inaugural committee had planned to devote Jan. 18 to the speakers and the next day to music, but it decided to run the same programs each day. Mr. McAuliffe said many people complained that they could visit the free Mall events only one of the two weekend days and feared missing out on featured events.

On Sunday evening, Jan. 19, the focus of the "American Journey" will shift to King, the slain civil rights leader whose birthday is celebrated in a national holiday on Jan. 20.

The National Park Service yesterday began issuing building permits to PIC, and trucks and workers were already on the Mall yesterday beginning construction of the seven tents and a merchandise mart.

1997 Inaugural | Park Closures | Pennsylvania Ave. Closure
Peace Park | Proposition One
Legal Overview | Regulations