I Was A Volunteer At The Inauguration Yesterday And This Is What I Saw
Image Credits: Kaitlin Owens
Thursday, January 19th 2017, was the start of the Inauguration festivities. Being a volunteer at the welcome concert, I stood on the Lincoln Memorial steps and looked behind me to see a sea of people. Taking in a deep breath, I thanked God for this opportunity I had been blessed to be a part of. History would be made the following day. The people of these United States have spoken up. They were fed up with the Obama administration. Seeing a wave of change our country is about to embark on, I look to the future, to the hope and the prosperity we have as Americans.
The welcome concert was unbelievable. Someone I met that works at the DNC said it was the best event he’s ever been to. As a volunteer, I had the privilege of escorting Sheriff Joe Arpaio to the front of the concert in the seated section. He was very kind. The sheriff didn’t fill my ear about his accomplishments or why he was at the event. He asked about why I was there, what I do and if I enjoyed the event. Arpaio truly wanted to get to know others. That is what makes someone great.
Some of the artists that performed at the welcome concert were Toby Keith, 3 Doors Down, Lonestar, and Lee Greenwood. Around 6:00pm, Trump addressed the crowd. He thanked the talent for coming and showing their support. Nothing was more amazing than looking at a sea of 170,000 people and looking forward to the stage where the soon to be President Trump would take the oath of office within 12 hours, while Lee Greenwood sang ‘God Bless America.’ History was made right in front of us. The fireworks at the conclusion of the event were phenomenal.
The next day, Friday, January 20, 2017, is a day I will always remember. This was the day President Donald J. Trump took the oath of office, alongside his now, Vice-President Michael R. Pence. Waking up at 4:00am was no easy feat. Being with friends and roommates also going to this historic event helped immensely. After getting off the Metro, walking to where we checked in, and getting scanned, we made our way to the section we would be standing at for the next 8 hours.
Waiting, I had a moment, just like I did at the concert the night before. This time, I asked myself to reflect on what got us to this day? “How did America come to be where it is today?” While many reasons popped into my head, one of them being “how is Trump soon to be President Trump?” I realized that this has very little to do with just the election. No matter your party affiliation, whatever you believe is right and true, we all have had a part to play. Past generations, current generations, and generations to come. We have all made decisions for this country that has impacted the way we think and the way we live now. Forget about the politicians you hate. Instead, remember that while some officials go into politics for the money, fame, or power, most go into politics because they were called. At some profound moment in their life, they came to the realization that they were called to serve their country. No matter what side of the aisle, these are men and women who serve us have been elected by the people to help govern this great nation.
When Hillary Clinton walked out on stage with her husband and former President Bill Clinton, I didn’t think of all the negativity I feel towards her. Instead, even despite many policy and character disagreements, she’s still someone who gave her all to serving the country. Regardless of that she was rejected by half the country, she had courage to walk down those steps today.
Yesterday was a day that will go down in history. Who would’ve thought out of all the 17 Republican candidates that ran in 2016, Donald Trump would come out on top. All GOP candidates ran because they knew something had to be changed in our government and in our country. It was Donald Trump’s authentic verbal language that came across to people as powerful and as different. As I stood, waiting for this new President of the United States of America to be sworn in to office, I thought about that. I thought about the change that he will bring. I hope it is the change that our country so desperately needs.
Next time you hear “he’s not my president” or other slurs towards President Trump, know that he still has a duty to this country to try. He is not much different than those who came before him and took the same oath. At the end of the day, they all want the same things. To inflict change and hope for this country and for the next generations to come.
Kaitlin is a southern gal with a touch of sass and a whole lot of passion. She is an Elementary Education major with a minor in Sociology and Political Science at Longwood University. She loves her coffee black and her wine red (of course), talking as well as learning about what's going on in our great nation, and will always stand up for what she believes in.
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