On a cold and wet day, over a dozen bundled up and eager figures emerged from the packed streets of Washington, D.C., to stand among hundreds of thousands and watch one of the most important events this century so far – the swearing in of Donald J. Trump as President of the United States.
Four days prior, 13 students toured the nation’s capital, visited monuments and memorials and participated in workshops. These excursions and activities were all facilitated by Close Up, a D.C. tour company that brings high school students along for the biggest week in D.C. The students were sorted into workshop groups led by instructors, who helped build community and civic education through activities and programs. Of the museums and monuments the students went to, the newly opened National Museum of African American History and Culture was the most popular.
“When I walked in at first I wasn’t expecting it to be something so interesting, and I left with a very different viewpoint,” said senior Alan Jacob.
The night before the inauguration, students also attended the Inaugural Concert, where they listened to bands such as the Piano Guys and Three Doors Down and musicians such as Toby Keith. “I thought the concert was wonderful, and I especially enjoyed Lee Greenwood’s performance,” said senior Trevor Weinstein on the concert.
On the day of the inauguration, students managed to get near the front of the public viewing area, and after some hours of waiting, saw the ceremonies in full. The crowd was mostly Trump supporters, who like the protesters just outside, varied wildly in race, gender and age. The main protest of the week was by far the Women’s March, which attracted three times as many people than the inauguration itself, according to the New York Times.
“The opportunity to experience not only the Inauguration but also the Women’s March is a testament to the democratic foundations of our country. I could not have planned a better example of the peaceful transfer of power and the freedoms of speech and press that simultaneously presented themselves,” said social studies teacher Mrs. Kimberly Hughes, a chaperone on the trip. Regardless of how one might view President Trump, his inauguration was a historic moment for America, one none of the attendees will ever forget.