Inaugural weekend brings people together


Sudharshana Krishnan, Editor in Chief

On Friday, Jan. 20, Donald Trump was inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States. He was joined by Vice President Mike Pence, First Lady Melania Trump and his children. Many members of the community attended the inauguration as well as the events associated with it.

“I was interested in going to the inauguration because I am a fan of Donald Trump,” senior Benjamin Warsocki, who walked in the parade with the Eagle Scouts, said. “I thought it would be a great opportunity to be a part of a historic event.”

After a closely contested and eventful campaign throughout 2016, Trump was elected president on Nov. 8 and formally elected by the Electoral College on Dec.19. Many attended his speech in person, while millions throughout the world viewed the ceremony on television.

“The speech is the best part of an inauguration because it is the first public statement of our president,” senior Jefferson Lin said. “It’s important that we receive some sort of official statement about his visions for the future.”

Some students who attended not only enjoyed seeing the president as well as hearing his speech up close, but also appreciated the overall experience.

“I met some people in line [while waiting to get into the mall], and had great conversations with people from all over the nation,” senior Ryan Sibley, who woke up at 5 a.m. to attend the event, said. “I thought Trump’s speech was impressive as he was much better at being inclusive.”

Others were skeptical of the speech and its implications for the next four years.

“The speech had good intentions and he was trying to be inclusive of all Americans, but I have yet to see him practice what he preaches,” senior Prachi Yadav said.

What surprised many was the attendance of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. After an emotional defeat, many did not expect her presence; however, keeping with tradition, she attended as former first lady with her husband and former president, Bill Clinton. Despite the rivalry between the candidates, Trump led a standing ovation for Hillary during the inaugural luncheon.

“It took a lot of courage for her to attend her opponent’s inauguration, but she did so in a respectful manner to represent the power of the country’s democracy,” Yadav said. “She represents millions of people that don’t support Trump, but tried to bring unification to a currently divided nation.”

The ceremony was followed by an inaugural parade on Pennsylvania Avenue which included different organizations, marching bands and patriotic floats from across the nation.

“My role in the parade was to be one of the 56 Eagle Scouts carrying each state and territorial flag,” Warsocki said. “As soon as I heard about the opportunity, I jumped to participate and was selected [by The Boy Scouts of America].”

Widespread protests also occurred throughout the weekend, including an event organized by Act Now to Stop War and End Racism, pro-marijuana legalization groups and pro-immigration groups.

“I think joining [demonstrations] are good ways for high schoolers to get involved,” senior Caitlyn Valenza, who attended the Women’s March on Washington, said. “Especially because at this age, sometimes you can feel powerless.”

Some protests were not peaceful and caused disruption.

“I was near protests and had close friends next to the limo that caught on fire,” Sibley said. “I recognize that others do not agree with my views in supporting Trump and respect their First Amendment right to assemble and protest, but throwing bricks and destructing property is not the way to force change.”

The Women’s March, which occurred globally, was the largest inaugural protest in history. The peaceful march hoped to send bold messages about women’s rights to the new administration. The Washington march was attended by half a million people from around the country and world.

“I wanted to be a part of this event because I think you cannot expect change to happen without taking action,” Valenza said.

Women’s rights demonstrations were not exclusive to D.C., as marches occurred in New York City, Boston, Chicago, Denver and Los Angeles. Events also occurred globally in Canada and abroad.

“I heard about the march from my grandmother. She has been advocating for women’s rights for years,” Valenza, who marched with her grandmother, said. “She was very excited to share this experience with me.”

Some understood the reasons behind the demonstrations, but hoped citizens would keep an open mind for the future.

“As with every inauguration, there are always protests and disruptions,” Warsocki said. “I think regardless of who they supported in the election, [people] should keep an open mind.”

Others feel that it is important to express disapproval so positive change can occur.

“The quote ‘Be a voice, not an echo,’ encapsulates why I feel that it is important for my voice to be heard,” Valenza said. “I want to be an active participant in a movement that achieves that.”

The inauguration represents the beginning of the Trump presidency, and citizens throughout the country are hoping for the best.

“[The inauguration] is an incredible thing to watch and it only comes every four years,” Warsocki said. “Trump’s speech was [one of the most important parts of the inauguration], so we can see what direction he intends to take America in.”