Shelby County locals share inauguration experiences

Published 10:14 am Monday, January 30, 2017

Several Shelby County residents traveled to Washington D.C. to witness the inauguration of president Donald Trump on Friday, Jan. 20. Some residents went to show their support, and others went to voice their concerns. However, all residents who attended agreed that they witnessed a historic event.

Alabama State Senator and Alabaster resident Cam Ward said attending the inauguration was a unique experience.

“It’s historic for our county. I really love the history of it, and I like to be there to witness history,” Ward said. “The crowd was very energetic.”

Ward said he appreciated seeing past presidents at the inauguration.

“Only in our country do all the former living presidents come to the inauguration,” Ward said. “I think it speaks a lot about our republic.”

This is the fourth inauguration that Ward has participated in. Previously, he attended the first and second inaugurations of George W. Bush and the first inauguration of Barack Obama.

Alabaster Mayor Marty Handlon was already in Washington D.C. for the United States Conference of Mayors Winter Meeting when she decided to stay for the inauguration.

“It was an honor to get to represent the city of Alabaster and the state of Alabama at this national, historic event.” Handlon said. “It was very enlightening, and very moving. Patriotism and pride were just very prevalent.”

Handlon said attending the inauguration gave her a new appreciation for the U.S. and its founders.

“I’m amazed at the genius of our founding fathers, who established a government or a process where this happens,” Handlon said.

“Reagan said this is both commonplace and miraculous. It gives you chills that administrations that disagree as much as the Obama administration and the Trump administration could do this transition in such a peaceful and friendly way.”

Calera resident Rebecca Krueger and her siblings Robert Godwin and Lydia Godwin also attended the inauguration.

While Krueger did not support Trump or Clinton during the 2016 general election, she said she saw the ceremony to support the new president.

“After the election, we have a new leader. It’s an amazing thing that we can witness the peaceful transfer of power,” Krueger said.

Krueger said the inauguration served as a way for her to spend quality time with her family.

“We have done a couple of different road trips before, but this was the best one,” Krueger said.

Krueger said while she and her siblings enjoyed the overall experience, she was disappointed by the behavior of some Trump supporters and protestors.

“It’s very sad and scary to be so close to people who were lighting trash cans on fire and breaking windows. There were also people who didn’t realize how solemn the ceremony was and kept shouting ‘We want Trump!’” Krueger said. “It shows a lack of respect from other people.”

Both Ward and Krueger said they saw several differences from past inaugurations. Ward said there were only two inaugural balls, while there were more during George W. Bush’s inauguration. Krueger also noticed that the police had a larger presence at Trump’s inauguration.

“It didn’t really take away from these special moments,” Ward said.

Several residents also participated in the Women’s March on Washington, which occurred on Saturday, Jan. 21.

“I went because I am very concerned about what is happening with the new administration,” said Montevallo resident Sandra Swindall.

“I have some fears about health care, our new president’s derogatory comments about women and immigration reform. I wanted to show unity with women around the nation, and around the world.”

Krueger said she was mostly glad to see so many people from different political backgrounds present at the inauguration.

“Everybody had their own reasons for being there. The inauguration started at 11 a.m., so we had a lot of time to talk to the people around us. There were tons of varying opinions.” Krueger said.