Student reflects on Inauguration Day

Kevin Dougherty, Contributing Writer

The sun rose behind the Capitol in Washington D.C. on January 20, 2017 as one of our nation’s most historic moments was set to take place — the presidential inauguration. Many had eagerly awaited this year’s inauguration, which I had the pleasure of attending. Despite a contentious election, a coming-together of people of many different beliefs and backgrounds was etched into the scene on the National Mall during this monumental event.

The passion of the people in our nation’s capital gave off an aura that illustrated both the division, but more importantly, the patriotism our country evokes in its people. Our patriotism is what makes the peaceful transfer of power in our United States government a significant and long-standing tradition because, as Trump said in his inaugural address, “When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice.”

Although protests were held the day of and days after the presidential inauguration, it was clear to many that the progress our country has made in the 50 years since the Civil Rights Movement, 90 years since the Women’s Rights Movement, and the still-evolving ‘Buy American’ Movement is exceptional. Those who attended the inauguration observed the first African-American president of the United States, Barack Obama, the first woman to receive the presidential nomination from a major political party in America, Hillary Clinton, and the first person to go straight from the business world to the presidential spot without government or military experience, Donald Trump, all sharing the same stage. Our progress, and the shift towards prioritizing the needs of the American people, is what made this year’s presidential inauguration especially memorable. “We [were] not merely transferring power from one administration to another, or from one party to another,” said Trump, “but we [were] transferring power from Washington, D.C. and giving it back to [us], the American people.”

Whether it was to watch the inauguration or to exercise their fundamental rights to gather and peacefully protest, thousands of people stayed in D.C. to mark the historical occasion even as the clouds darkened and a storm seemed imminent. No matter their political party, race, gender, or economic status, the American people stood as one in D.C. As Trump said that day, the people of America are united by “the same red blood of patriots … the same glorious freedoms, and … the same great American flag.”