Remarkable. Memorable. Historical. That was how Carroll County residents who attended President Donald J. Trump's inauguration described the experience.
The new president was sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts at almost exactly noon on the steps of the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. Among the thousands watching were at least six Carroll County residents.
In interviews after the inauguration, several of the residents spoke of the excited, joyous and positive atmosphere that they experienced on the National Mall's lawn.
"I just thought it was a fantastic opportunity to be a part of history," Westminster resident Tom Gordon III said.
Gordon said he drove down to the "remarkable" inauguration early Friday morning and met up with friends. He was part of the red section, which was set up behind the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool, and he was surrounded by thousands of people, he said.
And the crowd was mostly positive and joyful, Sykesville resident Alan Grasley said.
"It was a jovial crowd," Grasley said. "Everyone was happy."
Grasley and his 9-year-old son, Matthew, woke up Friday morning and headed down to D.C. to be part of the swarms of people listening to the new president. Grasley said Matthew is a history buff and he wanted to go to the inauguration. Sure enough, Matthew loved being there, Grasley said.
"I was happy I went. I was happy I got out of bed at 5:30 a.m.," Grasley said.
Grasley had previously gone to George W. Bush's inauguration, but he wasn't on the mall. This time, he was standing in one of the sections requiring tickets near the reflecting pool. He and Matthew had also been to a Trump rally before, but Grasley said the inauguration was "much better."
Grasley said he liked Trump's speech, especially the biblical reference to the shining city on the hill, adding that he was surprised that Trump included those references in his speech.
Manchester resident Robert Beezel also brought family to the inauguration Friday. Like Grasley, Beezel said the atmosphere was very positive, aside from the protesters he encountered. Overall, though, he said he had a good experience at what he called a "memorable" inauguration.
Beezel and his 19-year-old daughter were able to walk around the mall before making their way to the parade route. He said he came out to D.C. because Trump spoke to him in a way that he hadn't seen with other politicians, adding that the new president speaks to the working man.
In his speech, Trump said that he wouldn't let congressional members line their pockets with money, something that stuck with Beezel.
"He literally wants to put American interests first," he said. "That really resonated."
Trump dedicated several lines of his speech to the idea of giving the government to the people.
"This is your day, this is your celebration and this, United States of America, is your country. What really matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people," Trump said during the speech.
While Trump has been boisterous about his campaign promises, including building a wall on the Mexican border and repealing the 2010 Affordable Care Act, these claims were not on the minds of Grasley, Beezel or some of the others to venture down to the Mall.
Grasley said he liked Trump because he was a political outsider, saying he spoke to the people like President Andrew Jackson did. Beezel said he liked the people and the country being put first.
For Christopher Tomlinson, of Manchester, he liked that Trump was a strong candidate that wouldn't allow the Democrats to push him over. Of the campaign promises made, Tomlinson said he hopes Trump follows through on taking down terrorist group ISIS and bringing back jobs.
Like Grasley and Beezel, Tomlinson said the "historical" inauguration was very positive and many in the crowd were optimistic.
"It was good. It was very, very packed," Tomlinson said.
He hadn't gone to previous inaugurations but has attended a Trump rally. He said he was surprised when the inauguration began to echo some of the rally momentum and gusto, with people shouting "Trump" and "U.S.A." when Trump came on to the Capitol balcony. Going to the inauguration today was the "last piece of the journey" in the election, Tomlinson said.
Gordon called the inauguration "quite the experience" and said he liked that Trump included looking out for the little guy in his speech. He also felt that Trump had a positive attitude toward everyone in his speech, he said.
"Being able to attend the 58th presidential inauguration is a remarkable historic moment," Gordon said in an email. "To watch first-hand the peaceful transfer of power is something all of us can be proud of regardless of political affiliation. It is a testament to us as a country."
The Baltimore Sun contributed to this report.
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