Just nine days into the Trump Administration, many Americans are still basking in the resurrected hope that change has brought. Below, is the account of two northeast Texans who attended the historical Presidential Inauguration of Donald John Trump as President of the United States, and his Vice President Michael Richard Pence.
Van Zandt County resident, Dwayne “Doc” Collins his wife, Ann, and daughter Jennifer, attended the inauguration together, and Doc wrote:
We got to DC late Wednesday evening and were staying at the Gaylord National Harbor Resort, the hotel where the Texas Black Tie and Boots Ball was being held on Thursday night prior to Friday’s inauguration. Due to my body’s condition, if I had to walk any distance I reverted to a wheelchair. I would never had made it, if it had not been for my wife Ann and my oldest daughter Jennifer. They were my twin engines!
The excitement and anticipation of it all had me awake very early on Thursday morning. I got dressed, put on my Trump T-shirt and headed to the lobby for breakfast. Now, the lobby of the Gaylord is not your normal hotel lobby. It is gigantic with an atrium, shops and restaurants. At that early hour I was about the only guest up and about, however when I got off the elevator in the lobby I was taken aback. The entire area was occupied with at least 1,000 police officers from all over the United States. As I walked through the crowd of blue, because I was wearing a Trump T-shirt, you would have thought I was the winning quarterback at the Super Bowl. They were giving me high 5’s and thumbs up. I stopped to visit with several groups thanking them and inquiring about their thoughts on Trump. Almost to an officer they were upbeat and looking forward to what they see as, finally support from Washington.
The group I spent the most time visiting with was the 60 officers from Chicago. I needn’t inform you of Chicago’s situation. When I shared with them my two years living and working in Chicago while I was in the Army and the fact that my two older daughters were born on the south side of Chicago, they opened up and were very candid with their opinions. They are tired of the politics that effects the rules of engagement, but were very positive with the prospects of what a Donald Trump Administration may bring.
Later that day we made our way to Rep. Jeb Hensarling’s Capital Office to pick up our tickets for the inauguration. Congressman Hensarling happened to be there and invited us in for what was a very pleasant and extended visit. We discussed friends and family and of course, political issues. He gave us a very optimistic outlook on what a Trump Administration would do for our country.
The tickets that were given to Ann, Jen and me were close to the front in a seated area. The vast majority of the reserved sections were standing only.
By the time we made our way back to the Gaylord it was time to dawn the tux and head out to the Ball. It certainly was a “happening event,” with at least 11,000 in attendance. There were three separate ballrooms with entertainment going on in each at the same time. The entertainment included drill teams, dance groups and bands. The big event in the main ballroom had the Gatlin Brothers and the headline group was the Beach Boys. When the Beach Boys sang some of those oldies I used to dance to, I could not resist standing up from my wheelchair and shaking my booty! That did not last long, however. There were open bars in every corner offering all the booze you wanted and buffet tables with never ending food. I stuck to Coke and a few tidbits from the buffet.
I met many elected officials, the most notable being Senator John Cornyn. I also met many, should I say, “well-healed financially,” big money donors to the Republican Party. Met the owner of Cavender’s who had sponsored a stringed orchestra of about 12 youngsters from Texas, who were just fantastic! I was told he made a pair [of boots] for Trump.
The Ball lasted until 2 a.m. the next morning, but we left by 11:00 p.m. I wanted to get to the Capitol early the next morning in order to get a good seat.
We arrived at the Capitol grounds at 6:30 on Friday morning and avoided all the crowds and demonstrators. However, from where Uber dropped us off, to where we need to be was about 2 miles. I had to kick my twin engines in overdrive and the wheels into 4-wheel to make it. The tickets that we were given were close to the front in a seated area. The vast majority of the reserved sections were standing only and having a 5 hour wait. Thank You, Congressman Hensarling for tickets in the seated area.
When I wheeled up to the section I was assigned, the security guard stopped us and said follow me to better seats in the wheelchair section. What fabulous seats they were. We were seated just a hundred yards below the podium. Not only that, there was a huge video screen just to the left of us that was live streaming the entire event.
It was great to see all the dignitaries being ushered in and introduced. Congressman Louie Gohmert was there almost as early as us and had his seat just to the left of the entrance doors where everyone had to pass. He never sat down and I believe he shook the hand of everyone, Republicans and Democrats alike.
On the whole, the Trump crowd controlled themselves with the exception of two occasions. I learned later that the news media did not show, nor make comment at all when they took place. The first was when Bill and Hillary made their entrance. There was a very audible “Lock Her Up” that came like a wave from the Washington Monument to the front of the audience. The second was much more audible and that was when Senator Chuck Schumer spoke at the podium. There were loud and sustained boos that were reported later as upsetting to him. He should have expected such a response when he started on his diatribe of socialism in front of that crowd.
The only protest was at the beginning of President Trump’s address. Several in the crowd start blowing whistle very loudly, but that stopped almost instantaneously as security charged out into the audience. Actually the whistle blowing stopped before the security got there and I suspect some Trumpers were responsible for that happening.
Immediately after Trump had finished, we made our way out and to the airport. I had participated in and witnessed all the major events and can cross this one off my bucket list, not to be added back. As I said in the beginning, I am not going to analyze the inaugural address at this time…
Let us all help in Making America Great Again,
Kaufman County resident, Lori Cook and her husband, John attended, and Lori wrote:
Thursday was a beautiful day in DC with pleasant weather. There were people pouring in as the day progressed. Concrete barricades and buses being used as barricades were placed around the national mall area to direct and close some traffic areas. There was much excitement in the air with people enjoying the sights even though many of the buildings were closed. Many vendors were on the street corners selling Trump caps, T-shirts and pins.
Friday morning we arrived in D.C. about 8 a.m. and the crowds were already there. It was well marked where our group was to go for a security check. There was a big presence of police, National Guard and Military police. We first saw them in the metro station and then, all over.
In the inauguration area, we were in a standing section and were close to the fence that divided us from the chair section. There were several hours of standing since the swearing in wasn’t scheduled until 11:30 a.m. As the morning went by and the crowds came behind us, everyone started losing some of their space. Temps were in 50s and there was a slight mist, but not unpleasant.
We met some of the people around us and enjoyed good conversation. One interesting woman that we met is Carol Swain, author, professor and featured in Dinesh D’Souza’s “Hillary’s America.”
When the swearing in began, it was somewhat emotional for me. It started with Mike Pence and then Donald Trump. President Trump’s speech was to the point and not too long. His words gave a sense of optimism and that we might have some positive changes. He emphasized that the “People became the rulers.”
When we left we heard about some protests, but we never witnessed them. Overall, it was a memorable experience and we are glad we went.
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