Witnessing history in D.C.

Emily Gibbens, Opinion Editor

On Friday, Jan. 20, I had the opportunity to witness a historical event in person that millions of people across the world tuned in to. I watched the inauguration of our 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump. The experience was eye-opening.

In order to secure a good spot, we arrived at Capitol Hill slightly before 7 a.m. We stood in the cold, rainy weather for five hours before anything happened. At one point, I sat on my rain poncho and fell asleep. I take pride in knowing that not many people can say they’ve taken a nap on the Capitol lawn.

The entire area we were in was crammed full. There were people everywhere, people of every race, color, gender and age packed into the crowd to watch Trump get sworn in.

Because of the amount of people, security at the event was top-notch. Before entering any of the sectioned-off areas to watch the inauguration, everyone had to go through a security checkpoint similar to that of an airport.

Everywhere you looked, there was police officers and security personnel. Despite the masses of protestors at every entrance chanting threats and causing a commotion, I had never felt safer in my life.

Although his speech was very different in comparison to past speeches, I thought it was appropriate and passionate.

Trump didn’t hold back at all and even touched on some sensitive subjects. Even over the protestors blowing whistles trying to distract from him, he got the audience very excited, and I truly believe he meant every word.

“From this day forward, it’s going to be only America first…The right of all nations to put their own interests first,” Trump said.

One of the most unfortunate parts of my trip to our nation’s Capitol was having to worry about being accosted by the not-so-peaceful protestors and the riots. I have no issue with protesting, but they were blocking off exits, smashing in windows, throwing rocks at police officers, and one rioter even started a limousine on fire. Not only is that illegal, but it is extremely dangerous.

I do not understand what the purpose of riots like that were. In all honesty, what did that accomplish?

I came across a photo on Facebook that read, “Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus. But she didn’t trash the bus. Big difference.”

This is exactly right. If you strongly disagree with something, stand up against it and do something useful, don’t vandalize it.

An example of this would be the people of the Women’s March that occurred the day after the inauguration. I met quite a few of the ladies marching and although they completely disagreed with my bright red “Make America Great Again” hat, they were able to have a friendly conversation with me. We are allowed to have different opinions and stand up for what we believe in as individuals.

That is what America is all about.  Just because you don’t like something does not give you the right to destroy people’s property and put others in danger.

I thought one of the best parts of the day was getting to see with my own eyes five of our nation’s current or past-presidents at once. Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump were all on the same stage at one time, and I thought that was very remarkable.

In my opinion, traveling half-way across the country and dealing with the rain and the protestors was well worth it. The history I witnessed happening is something I will never forget, and I am more enthusiastic than ever to see what our new president will do in the next four years.

Emily Gibbens is the opinion editor  for  the Dakota Student. She can be reached at  [email protected]