The Inauguration of Donald Trump: From cannons to concussion grenades
WASHINGTON (ABC7) —
It’s been said that Americans tell time by their presidents.
“I’ve never felt so proud to be American than in moments like this,” says Trump supporter and vendor Cedric Washington.
Those who gathered in Washington to watch history unfold won’t soon forget the pride that was expressed and the rage that unfolded the day Donald Trump was inaugurated the 45th President of the United States.
“I’m pinching myself thinking I can’t believe I’m here,” says Stephanie Duncan of Tennessee.
As dawn’s dust shed a new light on the US Capitol the morning of January 20 a wave of Trump supporters streamed toward the National Mall.
Duncan adds, “A lot of changes are coming, a lot of good changes I do believe.”
“Let’s make America great again guys,” yells Washington while selling various souvenirs including hats and shirts.
Washington says, “I went to Obama’s first one and here I am for Donald Trump’s first and hopefully many more to come.”
Scott Coloney and his wife flew in from Florida.
“We’ve been here since about 5:30 in the morning,” says Coloney.
In fact, Coloney says one of the main reasons he traveled all the way from the Sunshine State was to show his support in light of so many others protesting this event.
Coloney says, “We heard there were going to be a lot of protesters here so we said we are coming up.”
This rising tide of support that successfully wept into the White House a businessman with a flair for sharp-tongued tweets then watched in wonder as Mr. Trump was sworn in.
“You know we stood in line for three to four hours today and everyone was happy. Where else will you see this?,” says Jim Parsons.
Parsons, a retired police officer and history teacher from Ohio, has been coming to inaugural ceremonies since the Reagan years.
His advice to those here: “It’s not that I expect this man to make my life better. That’s up to me,” says Parsons.
Moments after the ceremony concluded a thrilled and emotional Wendy Schacht of nearby Virginia told us, “Thank God for Trump I got to tell you. I think things are going to be so much better, seriously!”
The strength of our constitutional republic is, in part, defined by the peaceful transition of power. But what unfolded in the dizzying, anger-fueled hours to follow would turn that truth upside down.
Soon after the Inauguration ceremony concluded anti-Trump marchers moving down Constitution Avenue traded insults with supporters of the president.
But several blocks away, near McPherson Square, violence erupted amid a large group made up, primarily, of peaceful protesters.
“We saw protesters throwing rocks and bricks at the police and then they set off a succession of about ten concussion grenades,” says filmmaker Jack Gulielmetti, in attendance to capture the day’s event.
Gulielmetti says, “There were a lot of very, very loud explosions.”
Vehicles were vandalized including a limo. Windows to business were smashed out. Police in riot gear moved in and eventually arrested hundreds of people.
While bedlam unfolded the momentum of this day marched on. President Donald Trump’s parade rolled down Pennsylvania Avenue on time, without a hitch.
On this consequential day of transformation we are reminded of remarkable coincidence. George Washington recited his oath nearly 230 years ago during our country’s first inauguration. That event was the only inauguration held in New York City: the place that cemented Donald Trump’s legacy as a leader who now resides in Washington.