Seven months ago I was still a resident of sunny Southern California, and attending a presidential inauguration was simply out of the question, unless you had the means to travel, you would never get to be there in person. Now that I am here, living in the outskirts of Cleveland, the idea that I had the chance to attend such a historic event became much more realistic.
After I found out that I would be driving to Maryland and attending the event on Jan. 20, I recieved a great deal of taunting from coworkers and classmates alike for my excitement in regards to witnessing the event.
Protesters from all over the states gathered outside of the entrance gates surrounding the National Mall, some were peaceful and others were more aggressive. My gate, the red gate, was located right beside the parade route on Pennsylvania Ave. It also happened to be five blocks away from the violent protesters who lit a limousine on fire and smashed the windows of several store fronts.
Entering through the gate made for a slightly unnerving few minutes. Due to the mass of protesters attempting to block attendees from entering the red gate, police were needed to create a path just so that we could even reach the entrance. The amount of hatred coming off the crowd of protesters was overwhelming at times, but that atmosphere shifted the moment we entered the red section of the reflecting pool lawn. The shouts of the protesters were muffled by the buildings that make up the National Mall, and I felt as though I had finally stepped into a historical moment. Everywhere I turned there was the color red and it was probably the largest crowd I have ever seen in my life.
People from every corner of the country showed up for President Trump’s inauguration, and most of them were extremely friendly. The most memorable person that we had the pleasure of speaking to was an elderly war veteran who had flown out the day before on a whim just to see Trump become president. He had donned his old military uniform for the occasion and we were informed that he’d fought in the Korean and Vietnam wars.
The power of the crowd was electrifying. Cheers started from as far back as the Smithsonian Museums and rose in volume until those seated near the Capitol had joined in. Chants of “we want Trump” and simply “Trump” echoed across the lawn. The crowd seemed to react to wherever the camera panned, going so far as to ‘boo’ the Clintons as they made their entrance or as the camera focused on them,A no matter how briefly.
At exactly 12 p.m., Donald J. Trump was sworn in as the president, and never have I been more in awe. I never would have believed anyone back in California if they had told me that one day I’d be packing on a whim and driving eight hours to witness history in the making. The roar of the crowd as they too witnessed the world of politics change forever is something I will never be able to forget.
President Donald Trump in his inaugural speech said that, “when you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice.”