Editor’s note: Lewis Levine of Hinesville is a Courier correspondent who has covered four presidential inaugurations. Here are some of his impressions of what happened in Washington, D.C., on Friday.
Before the ceremony:
There was electricity in the air in Washington D.C., as the nation prepared to swear in Donald J. Trump in as the 45the president of the United States.
On Capitol Hill where Trump will take the oath of office, administered by Supreme Court Justice John Roberts, the seats and standing room areas filled to capacity as the morning wore on.
One noticeable difference this reporter observed was the Washington DC Mall was not filled to capacity as it was during President Obama’s first and second inauguration in 2009 and 2012. But, there was a sea of hats with the slogan, "Make America Great Again," as far as the eye could see.
Swearing in of Vice President Mike Pence:
The crowd went wild when it was announced Mike Pence was to be sworn in as vice president. Within minutes, Pence recited the oath of office as his predecessors have said for over 200 years.
Trump’s oath of office:
Next was President-Elect Donald J. Trump, who with his wife Melania standing by his side, repeated the oath of office by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.
If there was any animosity towards President Trump, it was visibly and audibly absent when he spoke, with the exception of a lone protester from a point just underneath where Trump was giving his inaugural address.
He was quickly ushered off.
The thousands who were lucky enough to score a ticket to the inauguration periodically chanted, "Trump, Trump, Trump."
Local reaction from those in Washington:
During an interview Thursday with U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter, a Republican from Pooler who represents Georgia’s first congressional district, Carter said he couldn’t contain his excitement at being a witness to the historic swearing in of the former real estate mogul from New York.
"I’m very excited, this is my first inauguration, aside from that I’m excited it’s Donald Trump," Carter said. "You can feel the electricity in the air, people have a bounce in there step."
Cole Barfield, a 16-year-old Richmond Hill High School junior, who missed his flight Wednesday, still made the 10 hour trip to witness the inauguration. Barfield, an avid Trump supporter, was able to score a ticket with the help of Carter.
"It’s amazing to see all of the work that was put into the event. To see something like this first hand is amazing," Barfield said.
He also saw protesters and expected them. "Thats just how politics is," Barfield said. "This is what the country is about. This is democracy. Citizens have the right to freedom of speech so we respect that."
Barfield said President Trump’s inaugural speech was moving.
"He talked about uniting the country again and talked about change for the future. I really believe in our new leader and I will not give up hope on him," Barfield said. "I will not give up my mission to meet this dynamic man either. I am still working towards my goal to have a meeting and one day I will be on the streets of this magnificent city."