Washington — Downtown Washington was wrapped in cement barricades and steel fences Thursday as an extensive security perimeter was erected in advance of President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration on Friday.
Although authorities said there were no credible security threats, more than 7,000 National Guard soldiers and airmen from 44 states, three U.S. territories and the District of Columbia and about 3,000 police officers from across the country, including 60 from Charlotte, were sworn in as D.C. Metropolitan Special Police to provide security support.
The tight security wasn't dampening the enthusiasm of the hundreds of thousands of people pouring into Washington for the inauguration.
"I'm hoping to see a solid showing of statesmanship," said Aaron Strickland, of Raleigh. "I'm really hoping for Trump to come out there and show that he's going to be the president for all. I think that's something we need. We need unity more than ever, and I think he understands that."
Alex Harris, a professor with the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, plans to take still photos to record the inauguration as a moment in history, much as he did in 2009 for President Barack Obama's first inauguration.
"What struck me that day was that I had come here to make my own pictures of the inauguration, but the pictures that seemed most important to me were the way people wanted to portray themselves at this moment," Harris said. "I decided I would just spend time on the back steps of the Capitol and make photographs of families that chose to photograph themselves with that backdrop, that that was a kind of record."
He said he plans to do the same Friday, although he believes they will be different from those eight years ago.
"You just felt, as you were there at that 125th of a second of history, that things had shifted, and you could feel the change," Harris said of Obama's inauguration. "The thing that I try not to do is to have a preconception of what I'm going to find as a photographer, but I have to say, I've sensed that there isn't that feeling of joy and excitement (for Trump's inauguration) – at least not yet."