Long security lines, Cinderella-style gowns mark LAH resident's inaugural experience

Courtesy of Duffy Price
Los Altos Hills resident Duffy Price attends the Freedom Ball at President Donald Trump’s inauguration Jan. 20.

Los Altos Hills resident Duffy Price and husband John Harpootlian traveled to Washington, D.C., last week to attend Donald Trump’s inauguration as the 45th president of the United States. Price shared an account of her experience, as told to Town Crier reporter Eliza Ridgeway.


We’ve been active in the Republican Party for many, many years in California, and I was one of the founders of the South Peninsula Area Republican Coalition. When I received a glossy, beautiful invitation, it was wonderful – we received an invitation to attend the inaugural ceremonies and the concert that was held at the Lincoln Memorial, as well as to buy a ticket to the balls.

The inaugural concert held on the Mall extended from the Lincoln Memorial all the way down to the Washington Monument on (the night before the inauguration). The security was extraordinary and so well managed – streets were blocked and police from multiple cities came to participate. They were able to scan your phone to verify that you were invited to the event. The program was excellent – Western cowboy music and Lee Greenwood sang the famous song “God Bless the USA,” and it brought the house down.

We had standing tickets on the day of the inauguration. You had to walk quite a long distance – there were many lines. Then that night, we went to the Freedom Ball being held in the Convention Center. There were serpentine lines – they have had 10,000 to 20,000 people. I was smart – I wore my usual black outfit of pants and my Ferragamo boots. There were women who wore these glowing ball gowns with high heels, and they suffered horribly in the lines. It was wet and the gowns were scraping along the ground. Most of them ended up going barefoot.

That same night, the town blew up with protests, knocking out windows, setting limousines on fire and throwing eggs at women in their ball dresses. The police arrested several hundred people, including members of the media. Our hotel was on K Street, where there was a considerable amount of damage.

We felt very comfortable and secure despite the fact that there were a million people in Washington, D.C. – the next day was the big march, and John and I had decided to go to the Air and Space Museum. It was unbelievable on the Metro – you couldn’t move – the town was paralyzed with all of these women in their darling knitted hats. All of a sudden we found ourselves encapsulated in this group, and we were a part of the whole thing. The women were very polite, very nice, although the signage they were using, you wouldn’t want to show to your mother.

We were totally shocked that Trump won the election, and motivated to attend the event because of its significance. I did not get a Trump hat that says “Make America Great Again” – I wore a red hat I was given by (Los Altos resident) Ron Labetich that said “Let’s Support Our Vets.” The hat commemorates the Foothill College Veterans Resource Center. The cap was appreciated by several veterans who recognized its significance.

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