Last Friday, I ran home from class and made meatballs for dinner before power walking down to the Lincoln Memorial for Donald Trump’s 4:00 Welcome Celebration. I was SO excited to hear our future president speak and to hear Toby Keith, as well as the other country performers. The celebratory concert did not disappoint; all of the acts were absolutely incredible. The show ended with one of the best fireworks displays I’ve ever seen over the Lincoln Memorial. What a night…
Upon arrival at the Lincoln Memorial I found all the surrounding roads, as well as the National Mall to be fenced off and guarded. There was an extremely long line on 23rd Street, where I was, for ticketed guests only. I was told that general admission entrance was up at 17th street. So, I power-walked up, passing and cutting off hundreds of people, determined to get in right on time. I arrived at the security checkpoint at 3:45, got my bag checked quickly and was granted access to the Mall. Now, it was time to walk ALL the way back to where I had come from. My legs had never moved so fast before. Before I knew it, I had reached the reflecting pool where a large crowd had gathered. I could’ve stopped there, but I was determined to get a better view. I whipped out my phone and pretended to be on a call with some imaginary friends that I was looking to join. Because I was alone, I had no problem sneaking through the crowd, almost all the way up, and nabbed a spot right at the barrier, granting me a spectacular view of both the Lincoln and the jumbotron.
The crowd was excited and filled with Trump supporters. I talked to the middle-aged adults surrounding me who had travelled from all around the country as I eagerly waited for the official celebration to begin. I noticed Secret Service with large machine guns standing on the roof of the Lincoln, as well as officers in police towers all around the mall. Members of the crown sporadically chanted “CNN SUCKS!” and “USA!”
The haters will say whatever they want, but the concert was not lacking star power at all. It was extremely traditional and classic American. No pop singer can beat country icons and military bands performing songs from the 1800s in traditional dress, ever. Even Jon Voight’s speech was amazing!
As the sun set behind the Lincoln, Trump and his family made their entrance, only to be greeted by loud cheers and applause from an excited crowd. From that moment forward, an already great show got even greater. I must say, the three highlights of the night were all at the end. First, Toby Keith preformed some of what I consider to be his greatest songs: American Soldier, Beer for My Horses, and my personal two favorites, Made In America and Courtesy of The Red, White and Blue (WE’LL PUT A BOOT IN YOUR ASS, IT’S THE AMERICAN WAY).
After Toby’s incredible, patriotic performance, it was Donald’s turn to speak! His speech was one of thanks to his supporters and definitely more celebratory in tone than the one he gave on Inauguration day. He didn’t need to make promises or lay out a plan; there was nobody there to tear him apart. He was with his supporters and it was a night of celebratory fun. He played into the crowd, thanking us, telling us he loves us, and most importantly dropping his famous catch phrase, (no, not “you’re fired”) Make America Great Again!
Trump concluded his speech with his family by his side. Before they ascended the steps of the monument, he had one final thing to say: “Enjoy the fireworks!” And enjoy them I did. They were INCREDIBLE! I’ve never seen a better done display in my life and I doubt I ever will. The videography on television nor the photos I took do it justice. They were huge, vibrant and plentiful. They even spelled “USA!”
The stunning fireworks display concluded a great night. Just as they ended, my phone died and I had to walk all the way home through the cold knowing that I’d be walking and standing outside for even longer the next day. Nevertheless, I was pumped for the Inauguration.