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Halstead Area Resident Attends Presidential Inauguration

Posted 1/26/2017

By Jared Janzen

HALSTEAD—A representative from Halstead was among the large crowds of people gathered on the National Mall in Washington D.C. last Friday to witness the inauguration of President Donald J. Trump. Craig Sooter was one of the witnesses in the nation’s capital for the historic moment.

“I think it’s something that if you like anything in politics and government, you ought to go once,” Sooter said. “This was a good one to be at.”

This is the first time Sooter has been to a presidential inauguration. He said he had been considering the idea ever since Election Day but hadn’t known whether he would be able to get off from work. It wasn’t until last Tuesday, just days before the ceremony, that Sooter knew for sure he’d be able to attend.

Sooter called his friend Justin Armbrister, who used to live in Halstead but now lives in Blue Ridge, Texas, to see if he wanted to come too. At first, Justin turned the offer down, but later called Sooter back saying he would, and that his wife, Wendi, and son, J.R., wanted to come too.

CRAIG Sooter said President Trump’s Inaugural address was his favorite part of the trip.CRAIG Sooter said President Trump’s Inaugural address was his favorite part of the trip.“The flights going there, they were full,” Sooter said. “I just happened to get the last seat on Tuesday on a certain flight, but they were all full.” For the Armbristers, they had to fly into Philadelphia and drive the rest of the way.

On Inauguration Day, Sooter and the Armbristers got an early start, taking the Metro at 6 a.m. from where they were staying in Springfield, Virginia into D.C. By 6:45, they were at the National Mall.

“We got there early,” Sooter said. “I would guess about 9:30 or 10 was when people really started piling in.”

To get in, they had to pass through metal detector security checkpoints. Crowds of spectators were fenced off into different zones to help with security.

CRAIG Sooter said President Trump’s Inaugural address was his favorite part of the trip.CRAIG Sooter said President Trump’s Inaugural address was his favorite part of the trip.“Listening to people talk that had been to (inaugurations) before, this was the first time they had cordoned sections off, so it was very well laid out on where you went in,” he said.

Sooter and J.R. were seated behind the reflecting pool, while Justin and Wendi were about 50 yards farther back.

“We were considerably close,” Sooter said. “We weren’t in a position where dignitaries were, but let’s put it this way—there were a lot of people behind us.”

During the hours-long wait for the inauguration to take place, it did rain on them a little around 8:30, and Sooter said that along with the 40 degree temperature might have caused some people to leave. Umbrellas were not allowed, just plastic covers. The rain cleared when the time came for the swearing in.

Sooter said the highlight of the day for him was hearing President Trump give his speech, which he said was uplifting.

“All during his speech, people were at attention,” he said. “It was just phenomenal the way people paid attention. Every once in a while someone would start chanting ‘USA, USA, USA’ and that chant just went across the wave of people.”

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