KING COUNTY, Wash. - A brother and sister from King County have canceled their plans to travel to Washington, D.C. and attend President-Elect Joe Biden’s inaugural ceremony.
Dustin Lambro of Renton said he has always been interested in politics. He attended the 2009 inauguration after working as the State Director for the Obama campaign.
"I will remember that day for the rest of my life," said Lambro. "The taxi driver had opened the doors and there was a big crowd of people who were in the same situation as I was. We were experiencing that history together, a big group of us, and I had hoped that’s what I would get to do with my sister this year."
His sister Kelsey Dean, an elementary school teacher in Issaquah, started sharing that passion for politics this last presidential race.
"I called her a couple months ago and said, 'Hey, I’d love to take you to the inauguration if you wanted, if you were interested in coming,’ and she said yes," said Lambro. "I just thought it’d be a fun thing for brother and sister to do together, but obviously our plans have been scrapped."
Lambro said they cancelled their travel plans following the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
"It was an easy decision for us to make, to put safety first. It’s sad that we have to allow a group of what I call domestic terrorists to upset our travel plans and upset the democratic order in this country," said Lambro. "We can’t ever say that we’re a country that has always had a smooth transition of power. We used to always say that as kids and we can’t do that anymore."
American inaugurations have always been a celebrated event with tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of people attending, though a few have been scaled down before, according to political science professor Patrick Schoettmer of Seattle University.
Schoettmer said Joe Biden is trying to hold onto tradition, but this particular event will be distinctive and memorable. For one because of the Covid-19 pandemic, and second because of the dark cloud that lingers over the capital.
"Downtown DC is essentially like the ‘green zone’ in downtown Baghdad. It’s a heavily fortified zone occupied by 20,000 troops which is not something we typically have," said Schoettmer. "It’s definitely going to stand out as one of the most unique inaugurals, and it’s going to be the first time we have a president being sworn in while the previous president is having an impeachment trial in the Senate."
Like most Americans, Lambro said he’ll be watching the presidential swearing in ceremony from home, and hopes to attend a future inauguration event with his sister.
"I know what an incredible experience that was for me, and it was something I really wanted for my sister to be able to share into," said Lambro.