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The Inauguration of Donald Trump
Nation's 45th president took the oath of office at noon on Friday, Jan. 20

By Alli Rael, Assistant Editor


The Capitol Building is draped with American flags for presidential inaugurations. Crowds filled the National Mall on Jan. 20, some as early as 5 in the morning, in anticipation of Trump's inauguration at noon that day.

"I, Donald John Trump, do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States."

With these words, spoken at approximately 12:00 noon on Friday, January 20, 2017, Donald Trump officially became the 45th president of the United States.

The ceremony involved with the inauguration of our nation's presidents goes back to George Washington, who took the same oath of office in 1789. Many of the speeches given on inauguration day in 2017 hearkened back to how remarkable those early inaugurations were - the peaceful transition of power from one person to another was a fairly new concept.

Inauguration attendance is free to the public, though most areas require a ticket obtained through your local member of Congress. Jumbotron screens with captions are set up all around the National Mall so visitors could get a good view, whether they were in a ticketed area or not.

For public attendees, ticketed or non-ticketed, myself included, inauguration day began with a 5 a.m. Metro ride to our designated stop. Following a thorough security screening, I waited with my family in the silver viewing area until the ceremony began at 9:30 a.m. with music as lawmakers took their seats.

Senators Roy Blunt (R-Missouri) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) gave opening speeches with a major emphasis on unity during this national moment of celebration of democracy. While Blunt was cheered, Schumer's speech was met with loud booing from the ticketed areas.

Justice Clarence Thomas administered the oath of office to Vice President Mike Pence; Chief Justice John Roberts administered Trump's oath, which was followed by a 21-gun salute and lots of cheers from the audience.

The newly sworn in President Trump began by offering his thanks to the Obama family for their aid in the transition of power, saying that this was not merely the transfer of power from one party to another, but the transfer of power from the government to the people. He promised that every decision would be made to benefit American workers, and that American labor would build new roads, highways, bridges, airports, tunnels and railways.

"Our country will thrive and prosper again," Trump declared. "We stand at the birth of a new millennium, ready to unlock the mysteries of space, to free the Earth from the miseries of disease, and to harness the energies, industries and technologies of tomorrow."

He concluded by reiterating his campaign promise to "Make America Great Again," which was met with unsuppressed excitement from the watching crowd.

Although unity during the peaceful transition of power was emphasized during the ceremony, dissenters made their voices heard. While some were peaceful, other protestors smashed windows of local businesses. I was fortunate enough to not witness any of the violence - at one point, my family felt we were about to enter a potentially unsafe area and immediately got back on the Metro headed for one of the Smithsonian museums. The Women's March on Saturday seemed to be split between people supporting women's rights and people protesting Trump's presidency. That being said, with very few exceptions, all the marchers I crossed paths with while working my way from museum to Metro station seemed to be both peaceful and passionate.

This is the second inauguration I have attended (I went to Obama's second inauguration in 2013), and it certainly won't be the last. It is an honor to bear witness to a part of history that is uniquely American.

Whatever your feelings are about Trump, one thing is absolutely certain: the next four years are going to be interesting.

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February 15, 2019, 2:11 pm PST

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