Wheels up to Washington, D.C, January 19th at 7:05am. It is going to be a long day as three of us travel to our nation’s capital to observe what Thomas Jefferson referred to as, “A peaceful transition and transfer of power”.

But wait, as an AmRRON Corps operator I might have a more significant role than the casual observer. Could I provide real-time “boots on the ground” INTEL on what is transpiring? How would I get SIREPS out of the AO? I ran those questions up the ladder and a game plan is generated (with the appropriate redundancy).

Plan A, is to get established with Echolink on my cell phone using the app and program it with the D.C. Echolink station. I downloaded the app, saved station K3YGG in “favorites” and conducted a successful comms check! Next, is plan B. I setup the “Signal” secure texting app for reporting on events with a known contact conducting ACE an operation abroad. COMMS UP! That was easy.

One additional mode, is going to be a hand talky on 2m at 146.420 MHz which I program into my recently purchased UV5RE upgrade, the Baofeng BF-F8HP. Set to VFO/MR with the frequency and I’m hot on all three modes. Let’s do this!

The approach into Reagan National Airport is backed up and we are now in our third lap in the holding pattern before we chirp the tires on the runway. Bags claimed and into the Uber Chevy Suburban taking us downtown. My wife, 24 year old son, and I are left with fifty minutes of prep time as we hit our hotel room getting ready for Deplorable Ball.

My son and I, thirty minutes into tuxes and bow ties, wife fifty-five minutes into her dress and wishing for five more. We leave our hotel room and the directions to the ball take us directly into the heavy foot traffic.

Sand-filled trucks blocked all vehicle traffic forming a ‘vehicle free’ zone.

We make our way through the vehicle-free zone with LED cherry tops flashing on the rooftops of police vehicles positioned at every intersection. As we round the corner to the entrance of the ball, it is immediately apparent that we are now entering harm’s way, with one of us in heals.

Protests on the ground while helicopters circled above.

The black hoodies and backpacks are responding to their leader voicing obscenities towards all things not endorsed by them. I grab my wife by the hand, and make way towards the left side of the police line, batons and face shields adorned. My plan is to B-line it to the fringe left side of that crowd that has their backs to us and dip behind the police line with a sudden flash of our inaugural ball tickets upon demand. A hundred feet from the entrance is an alley on our left that leads to the underground parking for the event. Rushing past, we reach the edge of the crowd, twenty feet from the police line. WWGMD epiphany occurs; what would Grant Matson (299 Days by Glen Tate) do here? And before I get to complete the thought, we get noticed by a few twenty-something year-olds with too much time on their hands and probable medical marijuana cards in their pockets. “Hey, what about these guys?” is what is belted out by one with his finger pointed at us. As two thugs try to block our forward progress, I make eye contact with one of the officers that is recording our plight with his body camera. His gesture is to double back and head down the garage as best discerned from his body language. As we turn, wife in tow, and less than happy, we are heading towards the garage entrance, water bottles are thrown our direction. Hit, but not hurt, we round the corner and descend into the garage. Lesson learned; that could have been avoided if had we planned for alternative accesses to the venue. Not so ‘gray’ after all.

We are on the escalators and inbound glass doors with security guards on the other side. They open both doors as we reach the top and greet us with the understanding that this memorable night has compromises for us all. We are directed toward another set of doors where additional security awaits, complete with metal detectors and hand wands. My first thought turns to “we are not the droids you are looking for” as WE are asked to go through security checkpoints and the losers outside have free reign of the streets of our capitol.

Portable cellular towers & other comms sensing equipment (ELINT, EW & CBRNE).

ID bracelets applied, we are escorted into a grand room where on stage is a Gold Star mother talking with great reverence about her only son lost to the tragedy that is our nation’s Afghanistan burden. I’m handed a drink as a sobriety sets in that I cannot fathom. This woman has lost a son. I only have a few ounces of Dasani on my backside. Perspective.

We get in the spirit of the evening. We dine, we dance, and we exchange mutually assured glances with strangers while Trump inaugural regalia is everywhere. My son’s high moment is when we are ushered into a “Basket of Deplorables” photo prop where the three of us strike a pose, bow ties and all. It is worth noting here that an announcement comes over the PA system that over three hundred attendees have been unable to gain entrance or have turned away do to the outside protests. Now that’s deplorable.

Inaugural AM alarm goes off at 6:00AM. This day has come. We have all, and I do mean all, held our heads in dismay and been respectful as an elected leader systematically tried to undo our national fabric by unjust executive powers. The well grown seedlings of successful division planted as hedgerows to divide us by race, religion, age, gender, income, political leaning, and guilt. I have my concerns about the man about to take the oath of office, but he is our horse in the race now and we have to see this day through, God help us all.

IPhone charged, check. BF-F8HP whip antenna applied, check. Powerbars and water bottles and the small backpack is ready to go. Onto the mall where foot traffic commands the day. The LED cherries are everywhere. TSA, D.C Metro Police, Maryland Police, North Carolina PD, Airbo0rne, National Guard, ecret Service, and others in uniform point fingers point to the 3rd and D-Street entrance for ticket holders. Black Lives Matter and Democracy Now activists with bull horns are cordoned off to one side so that egress can be made.

Security checkpoints like airport ques are set up in tents and everyone is processed. Cell phone and glasses come out of my pocket and backpack goes into the familiar gray plastic tub. “Open the bag please sir,” I’m told. Unzipping I turn it around for him to review and my whip antenna tip pops out. He asks me to remove it and then retrieves it from my hand. “Can you tell me why you need this?” I’m asked. “Sir, respectfully, this is a hand held radio for emergency traffic in the event there is an unfavorable event that takes place and I need to scan for emergency radio transmissions that will direct me and my family to safety. Can you tell me why I cannot have it today? It is not on your list of prohibited items.” “Are you law enforcement?” No, I say. Then I am told that it is their policy not to let transmittable devices into the event. “Respectfully, are you saying that you are also not allowing cell phones into the event as well,” I ask. No, only they are allowed according to the officer. I cannot travel through with my HT. “It will be here to claim in one of our bins on your way out, should you choose.” I acquiesce and note that I have gone through Checkpoint 7 and there is a tall cardboard container I see him place it in. Down to one device with two comms modes, my iPhone.

We’re now onto the National Mall and heading towards the front side of the Capitol Reflecting Pool. As we join the flood or well-watchers, supporters, and enthusiasts it is absolutely clear that they are peaceful warriors joining the ranks with the thought of watching history being made on this day. Smile abound on the face of parents, dads with a child on their shoulders waving an American flag, and one thing comes to mind. There were no American flags waved or carried by protestors, not a one. Florescent signs with angry and hate filled messages are what they are peddling to a crowd united under the theme of love of country, individual liberties not group-think, and restoring God in our country.

As we arrive at the statue of Ulysses S. Grant, it is beginning to take on a deeper meaning. We have three hours to go and yet the three of us want to take it all in and not miss a moment. I hear in the distance God Bless America start up in the crowd. Realizing that so many traveled from all across the country to be here, to share this moment. Cheers are lifted to the skies as the song ends and we settle into the next, America the Beautiful. Everyone here is a liberty loving patriot today, singing in a groundswell of MAGA caps.

The jumbo-tron lights up and the Army musicians at the base of the podium at mall level can be heard with and without the speakers. I pull out my iPhone and select the Echolink app to check in with fellow Oathkeepers and AmRRON operators. I attempt to select my “favorites” list and the progress dial begins to spin. And spin, and yes spin. I turn the phone off and power it back up again only to have a repeat performance. HT gone, Echolink down, I’m left with only one mode.

I tap the Signal app and go to my contact info for my text-based relay station comms. I thumb out my first message; “HT denied. Tight security. Major protest at 3rd and D.” Attached are a few of the pictures from the AM and a current photo of the west side of the Capitol, red drapes befalling the passageway our nation’s past and present leaders will transit. No response from my relay. I send a few more pictures and SITRPES over the next few hours. Suddenly a jingle from my communicator prompts a message; “your texts just started showing up. Nice.” Redundancy has paid off. We’re COMMS UP!

On the jumbo-tron screen we transition through the arrival of the Bushes, John Boehner, and the Clintons, which prompt cheers for one, boos for the ex-speaker, and a deafening “lock her up” for the latter. I must admit, I joined in.

Senator Roy Blunt announces the beginning of the festivities. We are then lead in an on-screen prayer that touches us all, and in unison a proud and heartfelt AMEN is voiced from the crowd, followed by almost deafening cheers of support. Our God is back in our government and proclaimed on the mall. I cannot describe (with any selection of words) the lump in the back of my throat on how that made me feel. We no longer have to be the Christian Faithful, silenced by our media and once fellow citizens that have succumb to hate of those that they disagree with rather than embrace dialog and pursue a common ground in the interest of civility with national unity felt by all. Today already feels different, at least for the hundred of thousands my wife and son and I feel blessed to be surrounded by……

And then, on the jumbo-tron, where for some reason Senator Chuck Schumer appears enlarged before us, plugs and all. In synchronicity, I turn to my neighbor and we have the same facial expression, “why him?” From the belly on the mall, from the back traveling forward, a chant starts. It’s just one word over and over from the base of their voices, eight years in the making, “TRUMP, TRUMP, TRUMP.” It does not stop until Chucky departs the monitor.

The Trump children and grandchildren are seated; Melania is escorted down to here position of reverence, and then there is a pause in the music. It’s here, finally here, … finally. The red curtains part and Donald Johnathan Trump, the President-elect is announced as a oratorical presentation to the citizen patriots on the mall. , and hopefully the elected and select few that have their seats facing the crowd. For it is those that I hope most are hearing us now, the forgotten man.

The cheers become deafening, as the man we voted for descends to greet US! The look on his face confirms what I hoped to see. He is humbled by the moment we have all gathered for. I believe even in that moment, he has realized the significance of what is transpiring. Millions will be looking to him to guide us to national redemption, where we must all take up the mantle and advance our nation.

We are all silent as the Oath of Office is taken, not wanting to miss one word. The cheers are even loader, the groundswell of patriots are jumping with our arms reached skyward in proclamation to God and Country, that we are no longer silent. We are graced with a revitalized optimism that was shelved under the last administration. As Trump starts to deliver his speech, we are silenced again, but this time voluntarily. The message is clear. We have been heard. Every sentence and thought delivered rings true with us. Trump takes pause to let the cheers ring up from the crowd. He speaks without fear. He speaks of the devastation of our inner cities and our fellow citizens that are downtrodden by failed liberal policies.

And then, the words that patriots have all been waiting for, he names our greatest threat to our national security….. no, Senator Schumer, it is not climate change. He says the words that we all know are true: Radical Islamic Terrorism. It’s done. The defiant liberal media naysayers have just broadcast it. Radical Islamic Terrorism. Sun Tzsu said it first in that you cannot succeed in war unless you proclaim your enemy.

As he teleprompters on, his words are chosen well and speaks the truths we all know. For me it was a statement of unity that I was looking for. I found it, I found it in the following: “when you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice.” There it is. I wonder how we can all unite behind it. Not the patriots that have their nation’s history and future in their hearts, but the those that have proclaimed a bastardization of patriotism based on hate speech, division, and undermining put forth by the revered dividers espoused by academia; Alinsky, Clowar, and Pivens. May we all heal our nation now, and the liberty loving patriots need to be ready to lead by example.

Twenty one reports blast from Howitzer canons to signal our renewed beginning. Jackie Enanko signs our national anthem as we do our best to reach her tones, me with a few octaves short. I turn to my wife, I see her tears with her smile spread across her face, and we embrace. I tear. It has happened. The people have been heard and their words have been proclaimed to the world for all to hear.

We depart the mall. My HT will not be returned so sayeth the security officers at Checkpoint 7. Minor loss. Lesson learned. Redundancy has been the reminder.

There is not one face of despair. Not one face of hate, division, vitriol, or anger among us. Has patriotism been rebooted? Can we now be out and proud in the interests of our national best, and not as a special interest group. Will we carry the mantle that sweeps the citizens up and removes the media from driving our narrative falsely? Will we be messengers of duty, honor, and country? Time will tell. We cannot lose our voice and it must be one of unity but tempered. Remembering how fragile that is, given the trajectory our nation was on over the last eight years. Where we might have gone if not for the backbone of our electors that put Donald J. Trump over the 270 vote threshold. Partisanship has lead us to two political parties that are just different sides of the same coin. Patriotism has to stop the coin toss. It’s not heads or tails, but hearts, minds and souls to that need come together to restore America.

Today we head to Mount Vernon. Our first President resided here. I will restart my quest for national unity here. I bow my head. I have said my prayer for peace and guidance. I will revisit this moment of grounding when I reach low moments going forward.

The skies gave us a cloudburst of rain as the inaugural speech was being delivered. And when OUR new President finished his message, an amazing thing happened. The rain stopped, the clouds parted, and the brightest rays of sunlight shone on the National Mall crowd. Divine providence? Yes, for me. You decide.

The three of us are left with that moment. That memory. And we see it as God’s blessing to carry us forward.  [code name] Delta Sierra-07