WASHINGTON, D.C. — In the nation’s capital, it’s a quadrennial event prepared for like clockwork every four years. This time, though, it looks unlike any presidential inauguration before.
On the streets, there are around 26,000 members of the National Guard, from states across the union, like Nebraska.
"I'm on the side of peace,” said Capt. Michael Zimmer, of the Nebraska Air National Guard. “And I think military members, especially in this situation, whether they agree, disagree, we are there as a sign of peace to make sure things happen appropriately and based on the Constitution."
For Washington, D.C. itself, the beefed-up security was welcomed after a deadly riot at the Capitol, something personally expressed to National Guard members by the city’s mayor.
"I just want to share with you that the people of the District of Columbia are grateful for you being here,” Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser told some of the National Guard currently stationed at the Capitol. “And I know that Americans across all of our states and our wonderful city are also grateful for your service."
While D.C. is the seat of our nation’s federal government, it’s more than just a city underpinned by politics. It’s a town with neighborhoods, people raising their families and running small businesses.
A mere mile down the road from where all the National Guard are at the U.S. Capitol sits The Capital Candy Jar.
“We've been in business for about seven years now,” said store owner Dave Burton. “We make a lot of red, white and blue candy.”
Even with candy in D.C., politics are never too far away. The shop sells candies featuring a Democratic donkey and a Republican elephant, as well as the city’s monuments.
For Dave Burton, running his small business here is like running one anywhere else in America. He's just trying to survive in a pandemic.
“Most years, we do a huge inauguration business and most of that is through hotels that are looking to give some sort of amenity to the people that are staying in them,” he said. “But our hotel business, because of the pandemic, disappeared back in March and most of those hotels haven't come back.”
For the safety of his employees, the store will close on Inauguration Day. For those who live in D.C., the city is more than just the sum of any troubles or celebrations.
“Part of the reason I live in this town is because I love this city,” Burton said. “I still get goosebumps when I drive up 395 and I come around the corner, I see the Washington Monument. I love taking picnics on the National Mall. There are a million things I love about this city.”
It’s a city that’s home to some of our nation’s best-known monuments and, to many more, it’s simply home.