A Texan’s Take on the Inauguration

In: Texas Times Column   Posted 01/30/2017

On Friday, January 20th, the world’s oldest and greatest democracy witnessed the peaceful transfer of power from one leader to the next as Donald J. Trump was sworn in as the 45th President. 

I’m grateful to have had a front row seat to history in Washington, D.C. that day.  And from my seat, I can tell you that while the festivities took place in Washington, D.C. for an incoming President from the State of New York, I was pleased to see signs of our home state of Texas everywhere.

It started the night before the nation’s 58th Inauguration Ceremony, with the Texas State Society’s Black Tie and Boots Inaugural Ball.  By some estimates, as many as 12,000 attendees gathered to celebrate Texas and toast the new President. Dance troops from the Lil’ Wranglers of College Station to Dallas’ SMU Mustang Mavericks performed, 13 teenagers from Virtuosi Houston’s Small Ensemble Orchestra provided music, and keeping with a decades-long tradition, Garland’s own Stetson Cowboy Hats presented Donald Trump, Jr. with a hat for his father, marked on the interior with his promise to ‘Make America Great Again.’

When the day of the inauguration arrived, Fort Worth event production company Encore Live had already been hard at work behind the scenes.  The eight-man team brought that famous Texas work ethic to Washington to plan the inauguration ceremony in just two months, logging 22-hour days and many sleepless nights.  They missed the holidays in Texas, skipped New Year’s Eve, and even sacrificed attending part of the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo to get the job done.

Beyond the entertainment and the ceremonies, Texas really shined in the 58th Inaugural Parade.  Viewers from the stands saw performances by the Texas State University Strutters dance team, riders of Fort Hood’s 1st Cavalry Division Horse Detachment, and former San Antonio Symphony percussionist Joseph Gonzalez, now in the U.S. Navy Band. 

With so much going on in Washington, law enforcement traveled from across the nation to keep inauguration-goers safe. The parade was protected by 45 of San Antonio’s and 67 of Austin’s finest, who were sworn in as deputy U.S. Marshalls to help with security. They worked a 16-hour day on Inauguration Day, but they did get to have some fun exchanging uniform shoulder patches with other officers from around the country. Also marching in the parade was Rooster, one of eight mustangs from the U.S. Border Patrol’s Rio Grande Valley Sector, captured from the wild and trained to aid the Horse Patrol unit.

One of the most photographed scenes that day was also marked with Texas pride.  You may have seen the U.S. Capitol, in all its glory, with five large flags hanging vertically from its arches. The outside flags had 13 stars to represent our nation’s first banner – the so-called “Betsy Ross” flags.  The flag in the center was our current U.S. flag, and the remaining two flags are custom-made for each inauguration. These reflect the historic U.S. flag flown in the year the President’s home state joined the United States of America – this year, the U.S. flag from 1788 when New York became a state. And for each of the last five inaugurations, these two flags are made by San Antonio’s own, Dixie Flag Company.

For this historic inauguration, Texans not only got to celebrate the new Administration, but they were more than happy to lend a helping hand (or hoof as the case may be). I was proud to watch President Trump sworn-in, and I’m even more proud to have done it while representing the nearly 28 million folks who call Texas home.


The Lil’ Wranglers prepare for their performance at the Black Tie and Boots ball.