Savannah and I woke up around 4 in the morning to get a great spot at the inauguration. While we were up early, so were the protesters. Some of the protests were so large that they blocked the streets to where we couldn’t check into our ticket area. When I finally got through security inside the grounds, the sun was coming up over the Capitol and it was absolutely beautiful. I worked my way up to the front of the crowd and got a great spot right in front, just a couple hundred feet from where our new president would stand while taking the oath of office at 11:30.
It was around 10:30 when all of the previous presidents and their wives showed up – including President Clinton and Hillary. Each one of the presidents was introduced along with his wife. When the time came for President Clinton to be announced, as soon as the speaker said Hillary’s name and the cameras panned to her face, thousands of people were booing and screaming “lock her up.” I have never seen anything like it. Even when President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama were introduced, the crowd booed and kept screaming “Trump, Trump, Trump!” Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer delivered his remarks before the inauguration and was booed to the point where I couldn’t hear one word of his speech.
When the president elect was finally announced and walked out of the Capitol building and down the stairs to be sworn in, the crowd went absolutely crazy. Seeing President Trump take the oath of office while hearing him repeat the words promising to serve our country to the best of his ability and knowing every word of his inauguration speech I was hearing in person would become a piece of history was an incredible experience.
It was hard to believe it was all real at some points in the experience, but I can honestly say I have never learned more in any class than I did my two weeks in Washington. Not only did I get to witness this history happen, I was apart of it. One thing that stood out to me more than anything was how divided we still are as a country. I used to think it was just Congress unwilling to work together but I see it in us as a society, as well. The disrespect and the hatred towards those who don’t have the same political beliefs as us has to stop. How can we expect those we elect to come together for the good of our country if we can’t do that ourselves? It all starts with us as individuals and how we interact with one another.
I want to thank Arkansas Tech and and the departments that helped fund mine and Savannah’s trip to D.C. It was an honor to represent our state and university, and I hope we made you all proud. I have loved keeping everyone up to date on our journey in Washington and it has been a pleasure to share my experience with you all. I hope through our opportunity to become more informed about our government and those who run it, that maybe we have inspired a few of you to get involved yourselves. Regardless of your feelings about the president, do yourself a favor and keep up with his administration. It’s so important to be informed about what’s going on around you and more importantly why that is. I’m looking forward to a hopefully prosperous four years!