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Witnessing Inauguration Showed ‘Democracy at its Finest’

Reflections by: Hunter Noorman, Wyoming High School Senior

As I stepped on the bus at approximately 5:45 a.m. last Thursday morning, I knew this trip to Washington D.C. to witness the Presidential Inauguration, with about 20 of my peers and history teacher John Doyle, was going to be crazy awesome. Sure, the ride seemed to drag on, but it built my excitement up for the days ahead, and it was an experience that lived up to my expectations.

Whether it was standing in front of a jumbotron to see the passing of powers from one president to another, to seeing one of our foreign-exchange students going body surfing at an Inaugural Ball hosted by student travel company WorldStrides, the trip overall had a positive impact on my life. I got to see democracy at its finest and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Editor’s note: Hunter Noorman attended the Inauguration of President Donald Trump with his Wyoming High School classmates, and agreed to write about the experience for School News Network. He is in the Wyoming High School wind ensemble as the bass trombonist, captain and driver for the robotics team 858 Demons, and captain of the cross country and track teams. He has worked with the Wyoming City Council to speak on behalf of the younger generation.”I enjoy helping others and getting new experiences,” he said.

Related Story: On Protest Day, ‘There Sure was a Lot of Love’ – What started as a disgruntled Facebook post following the 2016 election results, by Hawaii resident Teresa Shook, turned into nationwide marches with an estimated more than 2 million people participating. It seemed to me as if the entire country was standing alongside me in the streets of D.C. Everywhere you looked, there were rhetorically-charged, ahem, “pussycat hats” in every imaginable shade of pink…

Wyoming High School joined a group of Flushing High School students who were just as excited as I was to see our nation’s Capitol. After the swearing in of the 45th president, we got to go see the Washington Monument and the National World War II Memorial. They were such amazing sights and I could not have been more impressed with D.C. The weather was dreary but that did very little to dull my excitement for this experience. After a long day of walking about 10 miles and seeing monuments and little shops on the sidewalk, we fell asleep at a Marriott that was by far the best hotel I had ever stayed in.

Wyoming High School students stand in front of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial
Wyoming High School students stand in front of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial

MLK Memorial Leaves Lasting Impact

We visited several monuments, but the one that stuck out the most was the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. It had so many inspirational quotes from a man who wanted to change the world and change the way people thought. I got to visit a couple Smithsonian museums, the National Archives and The United States Marine Corps War Memorial (better known as the Iwo Jima Memorial), as well as the Lincoln Memorial and Ford’s Theatre.

I went to Arlington National Cemetery, which was a somber place but had a powerful presence. The Changing of the Guard was very powerful, as well as seeing where the Kennedys are buried. I saw my Advanced Placement U.S. History teacher enthused at the sight of a lot of original documents in the National Archives, which changed and shaped the United States into what it is today. The Declaration of Independence, U.S. Constitution, and even the Magna Carta were so moving because these documents had a significant influence on the U.S and the meaning of a democracy to me today.

There is so much more that I could explain in detail, but I was so amazed by my trip. From seeing the transition of power to witnessing our First Amendment rights executed through protesting, the memories from these events are ones I will carry with me for life. I made so many friends and met so many cool people, that the trip provided by WorldStrides was spectacular. This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I can say I was there.

Seeing the origins and the background of the United States was an experience I will be able to pass onto my kids one day. I finished the trip exhausted as one can be, but given the chance to go again I would take it. This is America, and this trip helped my love for history grow.

Students pose under the sage words of Martin Luther King, Jr.
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