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A Moment in History

On January 20th, I found myself a part of the crowd waiting at the perimeter of the fence that had sprung up outside the National Mall.  Around me, the crowd shuffled restlessly, some of them leaning against the fence.  When the gates opened at 7:30, the crowd flowed toward the security tent that stood between us and the Mall.  The men and women in the tent quickly checked us and our bags, and then we were funneled in the direction of the Reflecting Pool, which had been covered in thick, white plastic panels.

Hours passed this way.  There were large screens that displayed the seal of the United States of America and speakers that played music by the Beatles, Adele, and the Rolling Stones as well as a few others.  Whenever “God Bless the USA” would resound over the crowd, the crowd would lift its face to the slight drizzle and sing along.

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Around 11:00, the screens jumped to life, showing the doors of the White House opening.  A cheer went through the crowd.  Somewhere behind me, a couple guys started chanting, “Trump, Trump, Trump!”  Michelle Obama and Melania Trump exited, and the doors shut once more.  The chanters groaned.  A couple people chuckled at them.

A few minutes later, the doors reopened, and the chanting picked up once more.  Joe Biden and Mike Pence exited.

“Alright,” one of the chanters said.  “They’ve done the first ladies, the vice presidents–Trump’s next!”

For half a beat, all of us stood still and stared at the screen.  Then the chanting picked up again.  President Obama and President-Elect Trump crossed the threshold of the White House and ducked into the sleek black cars waiting for them just outside.  At the bottom of the screen, the subtitle flipped from “THE PRESIDENT AND PRESIDENT-ELECT LEAVING THE WHITE HOUSE” to “THE PRESIDENT AND PRESIDENT-ELECT EN ROUTE TO THE CAPITOL.”

Someone behind me pointed out a media helicopter hovering just above the buildings.

“Well, at least we can see how far away they are,” he said with a laugh.

We watched as it got closer and closer until, finally, the screens flashed the words “THE PRESIDENT AND PRESIDENT-ELECT ARRIVING AT THE CAPTIOL.”

We watched as Mr. Trump’s children, Melania, the Obamas, and Mr. Trump himself were escorted to the balcony where the rest of America waited for them.

Listen to the Inauguration Ceremony and the crowd’s reaction:


M Caldwell View All

I've been writing stories since I was 5. My first book was "Turtle Salad"--I wrote and illustrated it. I was horrified because Sally the Turtle ate a fish.

When I was 8, I wrote to JK Rowling to offer some ideas for the Harry Potter series. Her assistant wrote me back, saying that Rowling only hopes to inspire young readers, not to take their ideas. While I totally understand now, I was pissed then. I vowed to become a better writer than JK Rowling. I've been working toward it ever since.

Now, I'm a 21-year-old sometimes-poet studying writing and French at the University of Mount Union. My work has appeared in the University of Mount Union's Agora and Calliope, Hiram College's Echo, the University of Miami's Mangrove, the Lala, Popular Culture Studies Journal, and the Cleveland Magazine.

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