Gazebo staffers attend Presidential Inauguration


NEEL: ‘A once in a lifetime opportunity’

Last week, I was sitting in bed studying for my AP Modern European History test when my father came into my room.

He asked if I wanted to go to the Presidential Inauguration in Washington, D.C., the next morning.

At first, I thought he was kidding. But he finally convinced me he was not joking. It was a spur-of-the-moment decision on his part. And the travel arrangements wouldn’t be a problem because my mom is a flight attendant for Delta Airlines.

He reminded me this was a once in a lifetime opportunity and, with such a controversial President-elect, I would want to be there.

He was right.

On Friday morning, we arrived at the Capitol Building, surrounded by Trump supporters and protesters, women’s rights advocates, jumbotrons and Secret Service. I was overwhelmed by the number of people around me and the amount of passion they expressed.

I felt as if I was in the “Hunger Games” reaping scene, with the crowds and the large jumbotrons that had the presidential emblem on it.

It was 11:50 and I was watching, in person, Mike Pence, the previous governor of Indiana, become the 48th Vice President of the United States. Then, at 11:58, the swearing in of Donald J. Trump began and the world was watching.

I felt honored to see witness this historic event. The Mall was filled with cheering and yelling, and I stood in awe as what seemed to be a long battle to the White House come to an end.

Trump’s speech was something I’m glad I witnessed in person. He filled our ears of promises of change and optimism. I loved watching the emotions of the young adults around me who seemed inspired by his potential and words.

My father kept whispering in my ear, “I have always wanted a businessman as President.”

Going to the inauguration was not about loving or despising our president. It was about being there for the peaceful transfer of power that our country is so proud of, and being there for an event that means so much to America and the importance it has in the world.

UPSHAW: ‘A powerful and proud time’

Charles Upshaw

I have been a Donald Trump supporter from the beginning. So, when he won in the early hours of November 9, my family and I were ecstatic.

Immediately, we talked about going to the inauguration. But my mom reminded me that her best friend and her daughter and husband were coming to Macon for an audition at Mercer’s choir program the inauguration weekend of Jan. 20.

This threw a loop in the plans. Still, my dad and I decided we would still go because of this once in-a lifetime opportunity.

On our way to the inauguration ceremony, everything was blocked by concrete pillars on the ground, and Army trucks were  everywhere. Also, there were security “snipers” on what seemed like every rooftop.

We did not see any protesters, so that was good, and the ride over was not all that bad. We walked and took the Metro until we arrived just outside the Capitol building. We went through security and then went to our Orange section.

Then we waited for what seemed like an eternity until cabinet members started to file out. Soon after, a few House of Representatives came out and then the senators. After then, came the former presidents and their families which included Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, George W. and Laura Bush, and Hillary and Bill Clinton.

You could tell this crowd was mostly Republican because Hillary got booed. Then the Obama family came out and the choirs sang.  The crowd cheered the families of Donald Trump and Mike Pence. When former President Obama came out, lots of people cheered, which kind of surprised me.

When Pence took the oath of office, there was a passionate roar of affection. This was nothing compared to what happened next.  Senator Chuck Schumer started talking about everything the crowd and Trump opposed, sending the people all around me into a fury. It felt like the world was shaking from all the boos that were coming from the crowd. He actually had to stop talking it got so bad.

Trump went to the podium and was sworn in as our 45th President. What a powerful and proud time to be an American.

He addressed the people about what he would do during his term and this was very inspiring.  Trump actually had to stop talking because people were so loud cheering for him.

When this magical moment finally came to an end, our new President left the podium and we were blessed by two reverends and a rabbi.

My father and I left the Capitol. It was an eye-opening experience. I am happy that I could be part of the the 59th Presidential inauguration.