It was a cold rainy morning to be standing out in the National Mall of Washington D.C. for five hours. I had this once in a lifetime opportunity to see the inauguration of a president take place. It didn't matter who was the one being inaugurated because all I wanted was to witness a historical event take place. I wanted to take in the experience. Have a story to share with my kids one day. And boy, was it an experience.
It was 6:45 a.m. when we arrived at the silver gate to enter the National Mall (between the Capitol building and the Washington Monument). It was crowded and I was anxious. I had mixed feelings going into the event, but the beautiful sunrise over Capitol Hill brought me at ease. A friend of mine was nervous for what could take place at such an event. With the entire world, all people good and bad having their eyes on D.C. for the day definitely didn't slip my mind. It was scary, but walking through security to enter the National Mall helped my friend feel better. We felt safe, and gratefully we were.
The next couple hours of waiting were filled with small talk, cold feet, and some rainy clouds. At points I just wanted to leave because I just didn't think I could bare the freezing cold anymore. Standing in the same place for several hours didn't necessarily help keep the blood flowing, but my friends and I managed. When it finally was time for the inauguration to start I was filled with nothing but nerves and feelings of "wow, this is really happening." Prior to the inauguration, small talk was made with strangers around my group of friends and I. I was happy to be surrounded with such nice people for the time being. Though, as the ceremony began my thoughts quickly began to change. The ones I shared small talk with were the ones that brought me a sense of frustration and sadness. As people appeared on the screen I heard nothing but shouts, screams, and disrespect. I heard bullies.
As the ceremony went on, I anxiously waited to see President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama make their last steps with the titles they held so dearly for the past eight years. When they took the big screen though, I heard nothing but cursing and yelling from the ones that were surrounding me. I knew that coming to an event like this would certainly bring a lot of upheave, but to be there in that moment is so much different than seeing it on the TV, or hearing it on the radio. It hit me more; I immediately felt a pile of emotions rush through me. I felt uncomfortable, frustrated, and down right sad. Parents were yelling at the top of their lungs in front of their own children, and they did it with no shame in their bones. Parents are supposed to be role models for their children, and yet I witnessed so much disrespect and immaturity on their end.
I am grateful to have gone to such a historical event, but as soon as President Trump completed his first speech as president, I wanted nothing but to leave. This experience taught me to be the role model for the stranger and to always be kind to someone (even if you really don't want to). This was a tough election, and it brought many emotions to the table from people all over. Let us remember to always have hope, respect, and love towards all because many people may not witness in their own lives. Be the role model.