WASHINGTON — Bright red hats dotted the sea of hopefuls who flocked to the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on Friday to celebrate the transition of power they believe will make America great again.
People in line for general admission to the inauguration talked about how they had been waiting since 4 a.m. just to be as close as possible when Donald Trump became the 45th president of the United States.
“We are transferring power from Washington, D.C., and giving it back to you, the people,” President Trump said to his supporters in his inaugural address.
A small crowd clapped as a camouflage-clad young man told a group holding anti-deportation signs that they were wrong. Trump only wanted to free the United States of all the bad people who are now allowed to cross the border, he told them.
“Sorry, dude,” someone else said to a grumbling Hillary Clinton supporter. “Sorry it happened.”
Despite the possibility of rain ruining his artwork, another young man showed his patriotism with face paint — one half
blue with white stars and the other half red and white stripes.
Some people draped flags over their shoulders to assure other attendees that he or she supported the U.S., Trump or Israel. Others used their makeshift capes to let their neighbors know they would not be tread on.
New York City’s infamous Naked Cowboy transferred to D.C. for the weekend to serenade the waiting audience. The street performer wore nothing but his signature cowboy hat and boots, his guitar and a pair of briefs with “TRUMP” written in red and blue across the butt.
“God bless the U.S.A.,” Lee Greenwood crooned in a recording played over the speaker system before the ceremony began at 11:30 a.m.
Those on the usual grassy expanse of the National Mall took shelter under white plastic panels put down by the National Parks Service. The plastic saved the shoes of everyone who may have otherwise been stuck in the mud as well as the Park Service’s work on maintaining the lawn.
Although there is no official number, the D.C. Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management estimated before the ceremony that between 800,000 and 900,000 people would be in attendance. This meant a large crowd would be there to celebrate the transition of power, but the crowd did not fill the whole mall.
Large swaths of white space remained in different areas like the half-filled pages at the end of the chapters of a book. A young girl — her candidate allegiance undeterminable from the plain winter clothes she wore — used the temporary white plastic flooring to her advantage to glide around in a pair of black Heelys as she and her mother headed toward the information booth.
As former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, took their seats onstage, a chorus of booing could be heard from the soon-to-be president’s supporters.
Trump’s entrance was met with a much more positive reaction.
“USA, USA," the crowd chanted.
All the while, soldiers, stationed wherever the barricades separated one entrance from the next, lined the fences. Throughout the ceremony, they rarely turned around and exercised self-discipline to keep their eyes on the impassioned civilians.
For more news from the inauguration follow Indiana Daily Student reporters Emily Ernsberger, Melanie Metzman, Matthew Rasnic, Lydia Gerike and Evan De Stephano on Twitter and @idsnews on Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.