When kindergarten teacher Kimberly Eberhard began her winter break, she never expected she’d have a front seat to history.
But, there she was on Jan. 20, watching the nation’s 45th president, Donald J. Trump, taking the oath of office.
“It was silent,” the Wesley Chapel woman said, as everyone watched Trump recite the oath.
Then, a rousing round of applause and cheering broke out, said Eberhard, who teaches in Tampa. “You got chills throughout your body.”
She added: “Throughout his speech, everybody nearby was going, ‘Amen. Amen. Amen.’
“It was an incredible experience,” Eberhard said, noting she met people from all over — including such places as Tennessee, Pennsylvania and Montana.
Sandy Graves and her husband, Steve, both active in Pasco County Republican Party politics, also made the trek to Washington D.C. They drove so they could see some sights along the way.
Sandy Graves, who has attended previous inaugurations, said this one was not like the others.
“The mixture of people was different. It wasn’t our normal base of Republicans. It was very eclectic,” she said.
There was an excitement in the air, she added.
“I think it’s this sort of feeling that government can be tamed, not so over-burdensome. Just like Trump said in his speech, it (government) was going back to the people.”
She believes that Trump “really does believe that government should be for the people.
“I think he believes that government needs to be out of the way of creation of business,” she said. More than that, she said, she thinks Trump believes government should not impede innovation.
Ben Pumo, owner of Benedetto’s Ristorante Italiano, in Land O’ Lakes, also was at the inauguration, with his wife, Elizabeth, and his daughter, Alyssa.
“When Donald Trump won, that same night, I made my hotel reservations and my flight reservations,” Pumo said, knowing he would work on securing tickets later.
He has been actively involved in lobbying for small business interests and being involved in politics, and soon learned he would need to secure an invitation from U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, which he did.
“It felt good to be around people that supported your same views, behind small business and having my daughter and my wife be able to experience that with me,” Pumo said.
Published February 1, 2017