President-elect George Bush will see his "thousand points of light" 40 times over as inaugural festivities begin Wednesday evening and continue for another four days.
At the opening ceremonies at the Lincoln Memorial, the first 40,000 people through the gate will be given a small flashlight with a commemorative presidential seal. On cue, they and Bush will shine their lights as a symbol of Bush's call for all Americans to help build the nation."George Bush is excited about the inaugural," said Steve Studdert, the Utahn who is the executive director of Bush's inaugural committee. He has been meeting daily with Bush.
"It isn't that he is overly exuberant, but he is looking forward very much to the activities planned."
Studdert said the president-elect is "coming well" with his inaugural speech for Friday, which Studdert said will stress the themes of faith and family. He said it is now 15 to 17 minutes long, but Bush and his speech-writer, Peggy Noonan, are trying to cut "about three minutes out."
Studdert said his committee is working overtime to resolve last-minute problems, some unbelievably small but apparently important.
"For example, when we were out on Pennsylvania Avenue Sunday morning at 4:30 running through the parade, we noticed a small chuckhole. Normally we wouldn't worry too much about a chuckhole. But what if a horse trips in it and breaks a leg, or what if a member of a marching band trips and gets hurt? All of a sudden a chuckhole is a major concern."
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir was scheduled to arrive in Washington on Wednesday afternoon in time for a quick dinner and rehearsal at the Washington Convention Center for the Presidential Gala, which will be shown live Thursday evening on CBS. The choir will perform at numerous events through Sunday.
Five teachers from Utah, chosen as part of a national program to represent their peers, arrived Tuesday on an all-expenses-paid trip to the inaugural. They spent Wednesday in receptions and seminars with Bush and Education Secretary Lauro Cavazos.
Cloggers USA, a dance group of young people from ages 8 to 22 from Spanish Fork, was also in town doing some sightseeing before its performances later this week in the Inaugural Parade and at a children's inaugural festival on Saturday.
On Saturday, many visitors are looking forward to Bush opening the White House to as many people who can fit through the gates from 8 to 11 a.m. The last such open house occurred 80 years ago.
When Andrew Jackson tried the first open house, backwoodsmen ruined the furniture by standing on it to see the president or knocking it over in a rush for punch and refreshments. Jackson was almost suffocated by the crowds seeking to shake his hand.
Here is a look at some of the inaugural events. All times EST:
Salute to first lady Barbara Bush: 11 a.m.
Vice presidential reception in honor of Dan Quayle: 2 p.m.
Inaugural gala: 8 p.m. A two-hour, celebrity-studded celebration in honor of George and Barbara Bush.
Services at St. John's Church: 9 a.m. Bushes in attendance.
Inaugural ceremony begins 11:30 a.m., oath of office given at noon. Bush speech to follow.
Inaugural parade: 1:30 p.m. Down Pennsylvania Avenue, from the Capitol to the White House.
Inaugural balls: 8 p.m.
White House welcome: 8 a.m.- 11 a.m. Bush greets public at the White House.