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Thousands Line Reflecting Pool to See President-elect Trump


Alison from Delaware joined in the chant "Trump, Trump, Trump!" before the President elect and his family arrived at the Inaugural Welcome Concert. (C. Presutti/VOA)

Alison from Delaware joined in the chant "Trump, Trump, Trump!" before the President elect and his family arrived at the Inaugural Welcome Concert. (C. Presutti/VOA)

Four days ago, Jan and Harold Fisher got in their Recreational Vehicle (RV) in Arcadia, Oklahoma, and started their drive to Washington. This is Jan's first inauguration. She came because, "It's an important time in America to show support." Harold voted Democrat the first half of his life, but as for President Elect Donald Trump, "I love him. Supported him all the way."

The Fishers and thousands of others crowded between barriers along the reflecting pool in the shadow of the Lincoln Memorial for the welcome concert that kicked off the inauguration of the 45th president.

The evening started with patriotic and contemporary music, entertaining the crowd whose ages spanned decades. Many wore red hats with the Donald Trump trademark line "Make America Great Again." Some wore the American flag draped over their shoulders. One man held a yellow poster that read, "I support the Affordable Care Act. I'm only here to see 3 Doors Down," in a reference to the American rock band who was performing. The sign was quickly ripped down by a Trump supporter.

Watch: Thousands See Music, President-Elect at Inaugural Concert

Diversity over politics

First generation Indian immigrant Ravi Drums, a DJ and entertainer from Florida wowed the crowd with his synthesized patriotic tunes on his electric drum set. The artist whose real name is Ravi Jakhotia refuses to say if he's Democrat or Republican. He told the Tampa Bay Times he wanted to bring diversity to the inauguration and that it is time for the country to unify.

After an hour of military band tributes and country western ballads, the announcer introduced the president-elect to the roars of the crowd. President-elect Trump, in a dark suit, overcoat and bright blue tie, waved to the crowd as he and future first lady, Melania in a black double breasted coat, walked toward the front of the stage.

Trump: We are a movement

One supporter started squealing in delight. Alison (who did not want to give her last name) said she'd been waiting for this moment for a long time and hoped that Donald Trump would say he will "bring this country together." She didn't have to wait long. The president-elect addressed that at the end of the concert.

Trump called his supporters "a movement." And then made the promises Alison was anticipating. "We are going to bring our jobs back. We're not going to let other countries take our jobs anymore." He promised to "unify the country" after a divisive election.

Nick Owen and his family drove 11 hours from Nashville, Tennessee. Owen, age 19, says he voted "very proudly" for Trump in his first ever chance to vote in an election. (C. Presutti/VOA)

Nick Owen and his family drove 11 hours from Nashville, Tennessee. Owen, age 19, says he voted "very proudly" for Trump in his first ever chance to vote in an election. (C. Presutti/VOA)

Fireworks, family: front stage

The crowd sang along with Lee Greenwood and his quintessential Proud to Be an American. During the line "God Bless the USA," the jumbotron camera panned to the president-elect, singing along.

As 10 Trump family members walked to center stage, fireworks exploded above the rooftop of the Lincoln Memorial, while the military band sang, The Battle Hymn of the Republic.

Some wore old-fashioned flags, others wore red "Make America Great Again" hats to hear the president elect's first greeting of the inauguration. (C. Presutti/VOA)

Some wore old-fashioned flags, others wore red "Make America Great Again" hats to hear the president elect's first greeting of the inauguration. (C. Presutti/VOA)

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    Carolyn Presutti

    Carolyn Presutti is an Emmy and Silver World Medal award winning television correspondent who works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters. She has also won numerous Associated Press TV, Radio, and Multimedia awards, as well as a Clarion for her TV coverage of The Syrian Medical Crisis, Haiti, The Boston Marathon Bombing, Presidential Politics, The Southern Economy, Google Glass & Other Wearables, and the 9/11 Anniversary.

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