Observing history: Local woman, siblings attend inauguration

Published 1:02 am Saturday, January 21, 2017

Andalusia’s Shauna Robertson and her siblings were among the thousands of people who were in Washington yesterday for the inauguration of Donald J. Trump as 45th president of the United States.

“It’s just madness with all the people here,” Robertson said between events.

The U.S. Park Service no longer provides official estimates of crowds, but organizers of the event expected between 700,000 and 900,000 people.

0121-shauna-and-fam“We were packed in pretty tight,” Robertson said after the parade.

In his inaugural speech, described by analysts as a “populist manifesto,” Trump depicted the United States as a land of abandoned factories, economic angst, rising crime and dystopian carnage. He also promised a new era in American politics.

“For too long, a small group in our nation’s capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost,” Trump said. He said he was leading “a historic movement the likes of which the world has never seen before.”

Robertson, who was a Trump supporter, said she thought the speech was great.

“We were quite a bit away, and there was a lot of commotion,” she said. “But I have it recorded, so I will take it in and listen more closely. But I felt like it was a fantastic speech.”

Robertson’s sister, who lives in Prattville, first got inauguration tickets through U.S. Rep. Martha Roby (R-Ala.).

shauna-smith-roberson“I went and visited with her in Prattville, and was chatting with her about her trip. She was so excited, I asked if she would mind if I tagged along.”

With additional help from Roby, they secured another ticket, and Robertson made the trip with her sister and brother-in-law, Dee Dee and Troy Calhoon, and brother and sister-in-law, Stephen and Jennifer Smith.

On Thursday, the group visited with Rep. Roby, stopped by the offices of Sen. Jeff Sessions and Sen. Richard Shelby, and toured several government buildings, including a stop at the Supreme Court.

Friday, they were up early and bundled up in layers against the weather to get to their places at the inauguration.

“We had on three layers,” Robertson said, adding that temperatures were in the low 50s, and despite dreary forecasts, there was only a brief, light rain.

By the time they worked through the crowd back to their hotel, they were quite warm.

Troy Calhoon is originally from Michigan. On Friday night, the group had tickets to the Michigan gala.

“It’s pretty exciting,” Robertson said. “We hope to uber over there.”

It is Robertson’s first trip to the nation’s capitol.

“My sister had been to Bush’s second inauguration,” she said. “She knew what we needed to do.”

The group hoped to visit more of the city today, dependent upon crowds and traffic. More than 200,000 are expected to participate in the Women’s March on Washington today, set to begin at 10 a.m. ET.