‘Front row seat to history’ – Wilmington residents describe the inauguration

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Melissa Gott, like many other attendees, watched the swearing-in on large televisions along the National Mall, listening to simulcast audio on smartphones. (Courtesy Melissa Gott)

WASHINGTON – Donald John Trump became the 45th president at 12 seconds after noon on Friday, Jan. 20, as he repeated “So help me God” after Chief Justice John Roberts.

Despite outbreaks of violence outside the barricades of the National Mall, the ceremony proceeded as planned. A small percentage of protesters did command more media attention than the larger number assembled peacefully. However, for some at the inauguration, they did not distract from the historical importance of an outgoing president standing next to an incoming one.

Related: Planned Parenthood, Black Lives Matter and others join thousand-strong Women’s March in Wilmington

Melissa Gott, a Wilmington resident and active member of the Republican Party, told Port City Daily she felt the inauguration was “one of the most important ceremonies in the world, maybe the most important. I’m very excited about President Trump taking office, but the inauguration is bigger than him. It’s about democracy’s legacy.”

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View from the Capitol towards the Washington Monument. (Photo Courtesy Nicole Massimino)

She added that the weather had not deterred her.

“I may be damp, but my spirit won’t be dampened,” Gott said. “The fire, the excitement of the moment, that kept me warm.”

Gott said she felt honored to attend, again pointing to how the moment transcended individual policies and politicians.

“Washington is just very exciting and very inspiring,” Gott said. “The history, it’s so much more than our moment right now. How can you not be moved, standing in front of the Lincoln memorial? I go there, and I get overwhelmed, thinking about everything Lincoln did for this nation. It’s amazing to be surrounded by all that history.”

Gott said she was aware of the protests outside the National Mall, for which $100 million worth of security had been provided. Gott, who met the new President at two separate events, one before his candidacy, said that she didn’t take the protesters seriously because they had never spoken one-on-one with Trump.

“I don’t pay any attention to it. I’ve met him in-person, twice, and spoken with him. I know what his morals are, what his ideas are, where his heart is,” she said. “I don’t listen to people who criticize him without talking to him.”

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The United States Marine Band performing during the inaugural ceremony. (Photo courtesy Nicole Massimino)

Nicole Massimino, another Wilmington resident, also attended the inauguration. Massimino told Port City Daily she was thrilled at her proximity to history.

“We’re sitting in the third row, it’s incredibly exciting,” she said. “We have a front row seat to history.”

Massimino, like Gott, said seeing democracy in action was powerful. Massimino, who described herself as an Independent, also met President Obama in December, and said that, regardless of political beliefs, it was “beyond an honor” to meet “any leader of the free world.”

Still, Massimino said she was also excited about this particular leader.

“I’m looking forward to seeing a man with no political experience take the oath of office,” Massimino said. “I know how that can sound. But I mean someone who can see things in a new light. Someone who can do things for the American people. The news media only likes the negative when it comes to Trump. But I was there in-person and there’s a lot more positive then you would think, from all walks of life.”

See scenes from the inauguration below (additional photography and reporting courtesy of our sister publications WYDaily and Southside Daily).

The newly renovated Capitol building. (Courtesy Nicole Massimino)
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