Suburbanites reflect on witnessing historic Trump inauguration
Hundreds of suburbanites were on hand Friday to witness the inauguration of new Republican President Donald J. Trump. From area students to local party officials, they braved the beltway rain and expressed a sense of optimism, and concern, at the dawn of a new era. Here are their reflections:
"There's not really a way to describe (the experience). The most surprising part of the day was Mr. Trump's speech because it sounded softer. The stance was softer than his debates. I appreciated it. The government is now going to be about us, the people, like it says in the Constitution. I think the mood was mostly proud." -- Keiana Smith, 13, of Crystal Lake, eighth-grader at Bernotas Middle School
"The negativity I often heard before the election has been replaced with optimism and support, which ranges from cautious to enthusiastic." -- Richard Porter, Republican National Committeeman from Winnetka
"Lots of security here, with protesters being held back by tons of police. Everyone is pumped up, chanting 'Trump, Trump, Trump.'" -- Schaumburg Township GOP Chairman Joe Folisi
"I was surprised the crowd was much smaller than we expected. The students went into this fairly open-minded. The reactions were very mixed. We had kids very supportive and we had kids in tears, so it was emotional. We validated that it's OK to feel conflicted. It took their experience here to get them to really try to open up to each other. The speech was very much recycled from his nomination speech. Other than these slogans there was not too much of a sense of how anything will be accomplished. There was a lot of hope that (Trump) would (make peace with groups he offended on the campaign trail), but a lot of disappointment at the end." -- Mary Warren, eighth-grade science teacher at Hannah Beardsley Middle School in Crystal Lake
"There was a lot of solidarity of the crowd just looking for a new direction, new hope, a new beginning. ... Universally (my students) liked what Trump had to say even though not all of them supported him as being president." -- Donna Mohn, social studies teacher at Naperville Central High School
"I thought his speech was really powerful and good. I feel hopeful. It was just a very uplifting speech." -- Nicole DeMarco, 14, of Crystal Lake, eighth-grader at Bernotas Middle School in Crystal Lake.
"Today, Donald Trump was inaugurated as our 45th president. Despite my deep disagreements with his agenda and campaign, I attended the inauguration out of respect for the office and a responsibility to witness the peaceful transition of power. Our work begins anew. The Tenth District sent a clear message about our priorities on Election Night: building an economy that works for everyone, ensuring quality health care and education regardless of ZIP code, and embracing our country's diversity." -- Democratic U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider of Deerfield.
"We're here!" Wheaton North High School history teacher Haley Lotspeich tweeted Friday morning from the national mall at the U.S. Capitol building. The Wheaton North contingent included 33 students, two teachers and an administrator who all thanked U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam of Wheaton for allowing them to move up to the ticketed area at the front of the mall.