We started our Inauguration morning up by the Verizon center with protestors and supporters, slowly making our way through downtown ending up at the parade. My colleagues were in different areas, spread throughout the city. A few were in the ‘battle zones,’ where the protests turned violent. The spot I was assigned to – near the Navy Memorial – was quite the opposite. Yes, there were thousands of people, but from what I saw, everyone was peaceful.
Don’t get me wrong, there were many disagreements, but none of those arguments turned into violence or vandalism. What I did see – were protestors walking with signs, singing, chanting, beating drums and talking. I saw supporters walking, talking, holding signs for President Trump and even listening to the opposite side.
Towards the bottom of the route, right before the security entrance, I saw a dance party. Anti-Trump protestors were playing music and dancing to the ‘Cha-Cha Slide.’ But the dance party wasn’t only for protestors, even a few supporters got in the mix.
Aside from one cranky guy named “Dave,” who not only declined to do an interview with me, but told me I was ‘lying to the public,’ and only ‘reporting fake news.’ He then, flipped me the bird on camera and had a few other choice words for my photographer. At first I tried to reason with him, but then I just laughed and said ‘Have a good time today.’ You can’t reason with crazy, people.
Once I got through security, it was an entirely different situation. It was quiet, it was laid back, it was orderly. There were a few protestors, but the majority of people lined up along the parade route were supporters. When President Trump’s vehicle drove by, the crowd went wild – running to the front of the line to try to get the best shot of our Commander in Chief. American flags were everywhere. Cheering was constant. This crowd was happy.
Abdul -Rahim Shaheed, who was visiting from Milwaukee, said November was the first time he ever voted, and he cast his ballot for Donald Trump. “It’s wonderful to feel the history and the energy all the love.”
The cherry on top of it all – when the University of Tennessee Pride of the Southland marching band strolled by me playing Rocky Top!
All in all, my Inauguration Day was long, but not painful. Afterwards, we got all dolled up and attended one of the official balls, the Liberty Ball at the DC Convention Center!