Patriotism at its worst and patriotism at its best. In a two-week time span, the nation can witness this phenomenon.
On Wednesday, January 6th, patriotism at its worst made the news for all around the world to see. Pro-Trump extremists stormed the Capitol in Washington, DC, hoping to stop the counting of the electoral college and the formalization of Joe Biden who won the election held back in November. Property was destroyed, items were stolen, and lives were lost. In a location which deserves must respect and patriotism, this did not happen.
On Wednesday, January 20th, the nation should see patriotism at its best as Joe Biden is inaugurated as the 46th president and Kamala Harris the vice president. This should be a day filled with pro-American events. This year will not be as it should, partly because of Covid, and partially because of the activities two weeks ago.
While this reporter can only read stories, watch videos and look at pictures from the storming of the Capitol and eventual inauguration coverage, she does know someone who resides in one of the most patriotic areas of the nation. Her cousin, Jeni Bezdicek lives 3-4 blocks from the U.S. Capitol. With views of the Capitol, White House, and Washington Monument from her building on Pennsylvania Avenue, Jeni is definitely in a perfect location to see the America at its best - and worst.
"It is really tense and crazy here," said Jeni. "My anxiety is so high right now seeing everything going on and wondering what will happen tomorrow (Inauguration Day)."
Jeni, owner of Bez Law, P.C., was working from home on January 6th. She could hear a Donald Trump rally being held on the Ellipse. The rally was named the "Save the Election" rally. Living where she does, this isn't something out of the ordinary. However, she could tell that this rally had more energy, and not in a good way.
"I could hear Trump speaking at the rally from my home, and I knew it wasn't good," she said. "I saw the protestors walking to the Capitol and got really nervous cause they were more ramped up than normal. I also could see many with guns. I was scared. With the protests we had seen across the nation last year, I didn't know if my building was safe or if they would try to damage it. I sat on my bed and bawled."
Jeni added that she has seen other protests, but they were peaceful protests and thus she had no reason for concern for her own life before the January 6th protest.
With the inauguration scheduled for Wednesday, January 20th and the protests from the 6th still very fresh in the minds of many, Homeland Security has ramped up security for this year's inauguration. Bezdicek said that past inaugurations have had the checkpoint to enter the grounds at her building. This year, because of security concerns, the perimeter has been moved beyond this usual location. Jeni had already been working from home for the most part because of Covid, but now she is more confined, at least until the inauguration.
She has been watching barricades go up around her and has seen the National Guard which has been activated to support the security already in place. Among National Guard sent to DC are members from the 185th in Sioux City. She also said that snipers will be on her building and neighboring buildings. Snipers are normal for an inauguration because of the inauguration parade which normally begins at the Capitol and travels down Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House. However, due to the Covid, the parade is being replaced with a virtual parade which will include participants from all 50 states plus the U.S. territories. The parade had been cancelled prior to the protests. With no parade, the snipers, under normal circumstances, may not have been needed.
This year, because of Covid, only 1,000 people will be at the inauguration instead of the usual 200,000. This restricted number is a bit of a comfort to Jeni.
"I would be uncomfortable if they let people in," she said. "The bad people would blend with the good. I'm ready for it to be over."
Hopefully with the inauguration over by the time you read this, the nation can return to some normalcy and respect for all, regardless of political preference, can return. And Jeni can get her Amazon orders.
Photos by Jeni. Thanks!