Since this post greatly differs from what I typically write I wanted to give everyone a heads up. The idea and meaning behind it is not to upset anyone or rub people the wrong way. What I want to write about are the sights, sounds, and feelings I had on Jan. 6th, 2021. It's important to hear from those who are not the politicians nor those who were protesting but thoughts of us in between. Al of that being said here it goes.
It is crazy to for me to take a second to breath and realize I have been in Washington, D.C. now for a year and one week. If you had asked me 18 months ago if I would have moved across the country during the COVID pandemic I would have said no way. My roommate and I arrived December 30th and he started work at the Capitol January, 1st.
Over these next few days, I was able to visit the Capitol and meet all sorts of people who worked in his office. Many of them I had known from the campaign trail but others were new faces. Just when everything started to settle down though January 6th was right around the corner.
While a lot of people had discussed stopping by to see the protests, due to the huge expected size, I was not one of them. The morning of though my roommate asked me if I would swing by it for him and take some pictures since he wasn't going to have time. Not thinking to much of it I agreed to and he went off to work and I worked on some job applications in our living room.
About 12:45-12:50 I get a text from my roommate asking if I had gone yet and I told him I was leaving then. Since I wasn't completely naive I asked him how it was down there and if it was considered safe and he told me it was. I got to the Capitol Building around 1 and take some pictures that I sent to him. Now I never went to the front of the protests I just watched from abroad.
As the crowd's tone began to change from peaceful to out of control I was talking to a policewoman asking her how it had been. Her response to me was “it's getting back quickly you should get out of here”. I thanked her and started walking away when I heard the crowd dispersal guns go off which made me realize this was going south and it was going south fast. I saw the police in riot gear working their way in and out through the crowd but they were so outnumbered it wasn't even fair.
I quickly began to head back home but I didn't get far before my roommate called me in a panic. He was locked out of the office buildings due to the confrontations that were starting to take place and he was driving the Congressman car! Due to both of us being new in the city we kept trying to find each other and it took 45 minutes before we could. At this point, cell service was going in and out for the city causing the biggest issue.
Right before I found him I saw the craziest thing I might ever see. Firefighters in their suits minus the jackets were riding towards the Capitol with the back door open each one holding a crowd control item be it shields, the dispersal guns, etc. To this day I can still clearly see the guys riding into danger. When I found my roommate both of us were at a loss for words. While we assumed yeah some people might get out of control and arrested never did we think we would see such a thing like this.
The orders for curfew came out what seemed to be not long after and we rushed back to our apartment after finding a place to park the Congressman’s car for the night. We realized we needed to grab some frozen pizzas or something and went down to the Whole Foods in our apartment complex. Tensions were high though. People in Trump gear for the most part I saw walked around almost in a daze. Not all of them though as there was a couple of incidents where people in Trump gear getting into shouting matches with people in BLM gear.
It wasn't until I got back into my apartment and sat down I realized the true gravity of the situation. When I was on the hill so much was happening I just had to react to get out of there to get to a safe place. Sitting down though it hit my life a ton of bricks and honestly hurt my heart a little bit with what I was seeing on the news. It wasn't like I was the only person on the hill that day to just see what was developing and these voices are not well listened to.
The amount of intelligence and preparedness failures that day might have been the scariest thing. However, since then, I have seen a ton of improvements made to prevent this again. I just wish it never had to happen in the first place. As a country right now we are so divided and hard-headed. I hope someday soon people will finally stand down and work together again. That is America at it's best and something I really hope to see again sooner rather then later.