Yellow Line Metro train
Desiree Joy Frias, an American University law student, wore a black knit cap. A few feet away on her Yellow Line train, Army 1st Lt. Robert McKenna cradled the visor cap from his dress blues.
Her goal for the day was “to basically drown out the voices of support with the voices of dissent.” She was riding to McPherson Square to meet up with LGBT protesters and allies as part of a group called DisruptJ20, as in Jan. 20.
His goal was to witness his first presidential inauguration. McKenna, who lives in Colorado and voted for Donald Trump, received special permission to wear his uniform. “I want to show my support, not just as a soldier but a citizen of the greatest democracy in the world,” McKenna said. People in the District had been gracious so far, he said, and demonstrators are embracing their freedoms.
“One of the reasons I joined up was so they could do that,” McKenna said.
While the two quietly rode the train, not knowing what the other had in store, a Baltimore man in a “Donald Trump” hat was talking up the need for energy independence and rehashing the OPEC oil embargo with a buddy in a “Make America Great Again” cap. Two seats away, a laborer with a greasy McDonald’s bag was catching some shut-eye.
— Michael Laris
“I don’t care about Trump,” said J.T. Robinson, among the first people lined up to get one of thousands of free marijuana joints being given away near Dupont Circle.
The 33-year-old electrician had driven down from Hanover, Pa., with two friends to take part in the pot giveaway by cannabis support group DCMJ. At 7 a.m. someone speculated that 40 people already were lined up on Massachusetts Avenue for the 8 a.m. distribution.
“No, it’s 50,” said Kris Stuckey, 40, a fast-food cook from the District. “They’re packed in. Just like a crowded bud, they’re packed in.”
“I’m an avid marijuana supporter,” Robinson said. “I’ve been growing it since I was 12.”
He said he hoped Trump would legalize the drug.
Some marijuana supporters were planning to light their joints four minutes and 20 seconds into Trump’s inaugural speech, after noon.
Stuckey hadn’t planned to wait. He’d smoke his before work. “It’s going to help mellow me to get through all this craziness,” he said with a nod in the direction of the Mall.
— John Kelly
16th and I Streets NW
The figures in black hooded robes marched to the beat of their own drum — literally. A man with long hair and black makeup rhythmically thumped a bongo, leading a group of about a dozen self-declared Satanists toward the Mall.
One man wore a leather, metal-studded muzzle; one woman carried a black flag adorned with a pentagram; and many walked holding up the their black robes to keep the hems from dragging along the street — outfits that drew stares in a downtown typically awash in Brooks Brothers and Ann Taylor.
At 13th and H streets NW, the bongo thumps stopped and so did the group.
“Hail, Satan!” they shouted.
Amused and bewildered onlookers smiled.
“That’s so scary,” one girl said as the group passed.
“Mental illness,” said a man in a “Make America Great Again” hat, shaking his head.
“Now we know what hell looks like,” another man said.
The Satanists were heading to the inauguration to protest the values of the new president, said their leader, who identified himself as Faust Habnicht of Maryland.
They marched until they encountered a man straddling a bike holding two bullhorns at the corner of 16th and I.
“Do you love Jesus?” the man screamed into the bullhorns pressed against both sides of his mouth. “He’s alive! He’s alive! He’s alive!”
“Hail, Satan!” the black-robed marchers chanted from across the street. “Hail, Satan!”
The Satanists kept walking and chanting as the thump, thump, thump of their drums grew faint.
“Only in America!” shouted the evangelist with the bullhorn.
— Lynh Bui
Tammy Hodges leaned against the barrier on Pennsylvania Avenue, cold even in her three shirts, two pants and plastic poncho.
“We love our kids,” she said to her similarly shivering friend Cindy Young.
Hodges and Young had exhausted themselves on their first-ever trip to Washington, walking 40 miles in three days, according to their cellphones. And they waited hours to see their teenage daughters carry red, white and blue flags down the country’s most famous street as part of President Trump’s inaugural parade.
“I never dress in layers in the South,” said Hodges of West Monroe, La.
The small town of 50,000, where the “Duck Dynasty” reality television show is set, found out just three weeks ago that their high school marching band and color guard had been invited to perform, she said.
The community scrambled to raise $175,000, and just about everyone chipped in, said Hodges, a counselor at one of the middle schools that feeds into West Monroe High. Many of the 200 band members otherwise never could have afforded the trip, she said. “Those children would never have the opportunity to leave our small town to see these things,” she said.
— Julie Zauzmer
13th Street NW
“Do you think I need stitches?” Robert Hrifko asked the firemen standing in front of D.C. Fire Engine Company 16 on 13th Street NW.
The 62-year-old rode his Harley Davidson Ultra Classic 2011 from St. Augustine, Fla., to join “Bikers for Trump” on Inauguration Day. As he was walking there, he ran into the antifascist, anti-capitalist protesters coming down 13th Street.
“I was on the sidewalk. A protester was throwing an aluminum chair at a cop while he was moving on his bike,” Hrifko said. “As a biker, you don’t do that. I tackled him, and one of his comrades came up with a rock in his hand, and bam! Just waylaid me.”
A puffy welt on his cheekbone dribbled blood down into his beard. The firemen offered a Band-Aid.
“You guys are EMT, you tell me,” he said. “Do I need stitches?”
They shook their heads and told him he would be all right.
“Good, I ain’t got insurance anymore, because I can’t afford Obamacare,” he said. “I’m pissed off.”
Peering into the side window of a firetruck, he put the Band-Aid over his cheek.
“They’re not going away. They’re not stopping — they’re like ISIS,” he said. “. . . They’re out to destroy our way of life.”
His Band-Aid applied, Hrifko took his helmet and continued on his way in search of his fellow bikers.
— Tara Bahrampour
14th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Some of her friends had trouble believing that Candace Nelson, a 41-year-old Democrat, District resident and convention delegate for Hillary Clinton, was going to D.C. city hall to watch the presidential inauguration parade.
Tickets to the inaugural viewing stand at the John A. Wilson Building — which sits along the parade route — are typically hard to come by. But many speculated that this year could be different, since only 4 percent of Washington residents voted for President Trump.
“I had people that laughed. They’re like, ‘You’ll probably be the only one there,’ ” said Nelson, sitting on a sofa late Friday morning in the office of her council member, Brandon T. Todd (D-Ward 4).
As it turned out, Nelson was one of perhaps a dozen. It depended on whether you counted Todd’s staff.
“One. Two. Three,” Todd said, pacing through his first-floor city hall office suite Friday on a hunt for guests for his poorly attended breakfast reception. “People are still coming, I think.”
He stared through his window at a sparsely populated Freedom Plaza. Four years ago, the plaza had been packed.
It wasn’t supposed to be this way; the office had given out about 120 tickets and expected a large turnout.
Yet the noon hour was approaching.
Todd was one of only three D.C. Council members at city hall for Trump’s inauguration. The marble halls echoed like a mausoleum, with strategically placed pastries and urns of hot coffee. A plate of uneaten muffins sat on the buffet table; a tray of fruit salad was all but untouched.
— Peter Jamison
National Museum of African American History and Culture
Cheryl Newson, 63, clenched the tissue in her hand as she viewed the slave trade exhibit inside the museum just blocks from the White House.
Her friend Yvonne Bruins shook her head as she studied a picture of a woman pleading for her baby being sold in slavery.
Newson was frozen as the narrator talked about slave owners “pulling back your lips to look at your teeth.”
Then the tears fell.
Newson said later that she realized her tears were cathartic — especially on this day when Donald Trump was being sworn in as president. What she was witnessing, coupled with the events of the day, was overwhelming.
“I’m angry,” said Newson, who took a 14-hour bus trip with a church group from Memphis to visit the new museum. “This was something that needed to be released from my heart.”
Bruins said she drew strength from soaking in the stories of her ancestors.
“I look at this and I don’t just see the struggle, but I see strength,” she said. “I feel empowered to go on.”
— Ovetta Wiggins
13th and E Streets NW
Trump supporters and opponents who found themselves shoulder to shoulder in the slow-moving lines at a security checkpoint had the rare chance to test their views.
A few protesters holding “Black Lives Matter” posters were surprised when a Trump supporter more than twice their age wearing a “Vietnam veteran” cap and Harley Davidson leather jacket thanked them for being there. “I don’t agree with you,” he told them, but he said he respected their right to express themselves.
Until then, Adam Brunell, 25, who works at a D.C. homeless shelter, said his conversations with Trump supporters had been limited mostly to Uber drivers. And Mariah Minigan, 25, from Framingham, Mass., said her interactions had been limited to “being yelled at by Trump supporters” while campaigning for Hillary Clinton.
But in the security line, they talked about the meaning of the slogan “Black Lives Matter.” They talked about whether police were being unfairly vilified for shootings committed by a small number of officers. More than once, they pulled out smartphones to fact-check each other’s statistics.
Just before the checkpoint, they shook hands.
The Trump supporter, a volunteer prison chaplain from Michigan, said, “You never learn something new if you keep talking to people you agree with.”
— Michael Chandler
14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW
Saudi Iqbal and Sarmad Bhatti of Chantilly, Va., stood on the street corner near the Washington Monument offering hugs and answers.
“Meet a Muslim — ask me anything!” Iqbal, 31, shouted.
“More than 60 percent of Americans have never met a Muslim, and only believe the distorted myths that they have heard during this campaign or from the media,” he said. “We are doing our part to create harmony and unity.”
Iqbal said many people asked them about why Muslim women wear veils. Others asked their views on Trump. Someone passed them and screamed “Terrorist!”
They two even started a Twitter handle, #meetamuslim.
One man, carrying a large black sign that read “Jesus or Sin,” confronted the two Muslims.
“Muhammad is dead. My Jesus lives,” the man shouted into a bullhorn pointed at them. Bhatti smiled. “Here we go,” he whispered.
Lori Gresham, 46, a psychology professor at the University of Connecticut and her friend Holly Ragusa, 45, of Cincinnati stopped to hug the men.
“Some of the most beautiful people I have ever met happened to be Muslim,” Gresham said.
— Keith Alexander
7th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Kristy Lowenkron had a problem: at 5-foot-1, she had a tough time seeing over the crowds to catch a glimpse of the new president as his limousine rolled by. She had cast her first presidential ballot for Donald Trump, and she wanted to savor the big moment.
So the 21-year-old from Baltimore hopped onto the shoulders of Austin Phillips, 22, also of Baltimore, whom she is dating. He is 6-foot-3.
“There he is!” she cried to Phillips. “Oh my gosh, I can see him through the window!”
Trump was soon past, and she climbed back down. “That was so cool,” she told Phillips. “Feel my heart beating.”
“I feel like a girl who just saw Justin Bieber,” she said. “All right, let’s get out of here.”
Then the two scooted off.
— Nick Anderson