My Experience Attending The 2013 Inauguration

The inauguration is an important event that has taken place for every U.S. President from George Washington in 1789, all the way until Barack Obama in 2013. Donald Trump will take the stage at the capital on January 20, 2017, to be sworn in as the nation’s 45th president. Whether you agree with the incoming president’s policies or not, the inauguration is a historic day that celebrates our nation, and the peaceful transition of power, which is the cornerstone of our democracy. Four years ago, I had the opportunity to attend the inauguration for Barack Obama, and it is an experience I will never forget.

In the Summer of 2012, I decided I was going to begin volunteering for the Obama campaign. I had never done anything like that so I was really nervous, but I wanted to help elect the person that I felt was most ready to lead the nation. By the time November rolled around I was very involved with the campaign, and would attend events several nights a week. Election night was so amazing. I felt so proud to watch Obama’s win be announced, and know that I was a part of it. The excitement quickly passed, and I was left with post-election blues. It was hard for me to go from being obsessed with something, and devoting a large amount of my time to it, and then having it be over all of a sudden.

 

Before the election, my AP Government teacher had announced that he would be leading a trip to DC for the inauguration. I decided that this might be a good remedy for my post-election sadness, so I signed up for the trip, which turned out to be one of the best experiences of my life.

In addition to the inauguration, we attended several museums, exhibits, and monuments which was an amazing experience, but nothing compared to watching Barack Obama be sworn in as President. It was so surreal to stand on the national mall with hundreds of thousands of people from all walks of life and see the man I had campaigned for be sworn in on the steps of the United States capital. After Obama took the oath of office, Kelly Clarkson performed “My Country Tis Of Thee” and Beyonce sang the national anthem.

 

After all of the performances and speakers, Obama finally took the stage and gave a speech that left so many (including me) in tears. As a gay man, it was especially amazing to hear the leader of my nation tell me that my contributions are equally as important as anyone else. The overarching theme of his speech was unity, and the strength we have when we all stand together with have hope in our hearts.

It’s hard to believe that it’s already time for another person to stand on that stage to take the oath of office. It feels like just yesterday that I was there. My experience gave me a greater appreciation for our country, our freedom, and the office of President. We may not always love the person who is leading us, but part of the beauty of America is that we can choose a new leader every four years. So many around the world would kill for that opportunity, and that’s why the inauguration is so important and symbolic.