A crowd of young women cheer as Donald Trump and Melania Trump are introduced. Photo by Cora Cervantes
The inauguration of Donald Trump attracted supporters,protesters and people who just wanted to witness history.
Security lines stretched for a few blocks, dotted with the red hats with the eponymous “Make America Great Again” slogan. Many in the crowd carried Trump flags and wore Trump scarves.
“We are really excited to be here,” said Lisa Wisent, 56, of Hickory, North Carolina.
She said her community is known for furniture and hosiery manufacturing, but NAFTA, has hurt them.
“When NAFTA was signed, my husband lost his job, “she said. “He was in hosiery and everything went to Mexico. We have a lot of family in furniture, and a lot other furniture (manufacturing) left. It went overseas.”
As the crowds walked onto the Washington Monument lawn, which served as one of the giant screen viewing areas, small groups of people began to chant “Trump, Trump, Trump!”
But protestors came to watch the swearing in of the controversial 45th president too.
Celeste Stone, 42, from Detroit, Michigan, came as a private citizen to exercise her right to protest.
“I feel that Trump is only going to further divide our country,” she said. “I don’t feel that the people that are disenfranchised, that have voted for Trump are actually going to get what they want. So, I am out here for everyone.”
Attendees laid out their raincoats and blankets to sit on the lawn. Some looked up at the screen as the names of key government officials were announced.
“I just want to witness the inauguration of a new president,” said Kevin McCallum, 30, from Bethesda, Maryland. “It is not political for me. I am looking for a peaceful transition of power. That’s what’s important to me no matter who won the election. No matter who I voted for, I would want to be out here today to see the new administration. The system is more important to me than any one man or woman who wins office.”
In spite of the rain, the crowd remained quiet and calm as Trump took the oath of office. They remained relatively silent throughout his inaugural speech, but gave a loud cheer when he said:
“The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country. Their victories have not been your victories; their triumphs have not been your triumphs; and while they celebrated in our nation’s capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land.
That all changes — starting right here, and right now, because this moment is your moment: it belongs to you.”
But as President Trump’s speech came to a close Sylvia Wilk, 19, from New York City’s Lower East Side, began to cry.
“I feel devastation and fear,” she said. “Fear for all the people that have lost so much protection and hope. I am thinking of my friends and everyone that is going to grow up seeing that face. It is heartbreaking.”
Attendance was overwhelmingly white, but there were a few people of color in the crowd who were Trump supporters.
“I am a Latino,” said Jorge Sosa, of Charlottesville, Virginia, and a native of Venezuela. I have made a good life for myself here. I consider myself a conservative because I believe in the government getting out of the way of the individual and allowing all people to succeed through their own efforts.”
As the crowd began to disperse students from Salinas Valley Dream Academy in California, who came to the nation’s capital as part of their class trip, made a unity circle and hugged one another.
“Right after the election, being a 100 Latino student group we were devastated, shocked, angry, and scared, but we decided to come,” said Ruben Pizarro, 40, the executive director of the academy. “We think this is the most important inauguration of their lifetime because it is really a call to action. There is a lot of work to be done.”
He looked over at a huddled group of students and said to them, “If you don’t like the way you feel right now, remember how you feel so that when you are tempted not to go to that city council meeting or not to vote you remember that this feeling isn’t worth it. You never want to be in this position again.”