Locals ‘nervous’ but excited for inauguration day

  • Greenfield resident Raymond Neal said he’s “really excited” for the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden on Wednesday. STAFF PHOTOS/MARY BYRNE

  • Greenfield resident Rachael Balcanoff said it was “unfortunate” the fear of violence has detracted from the presidential inauguration.

Staff Writer
Published: 1/19/2021 7:04:51 PM

While locals are saying they’re excited for the change in office to take place in Washington D.C. on Wednesday, many have also expressed a degree of anxiety over the “threat of violence” anticipated at the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.

“I think it’s not a really good idea for people to be going there right now, between the threat of violence and the pandemic,” said Ferd Wulkan, a Montague resident and a member of Franklin County Continuing the Political Revolution (FCCPR).

According to the Associated Press, the FBI has warned of armed protests and potential attacks being planned by militant supporters of President Donald Trump in D.C. and in every state capital.

Because of that, as well as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, many aspects of inauguration day will be different this year, including the lack of a parade and inaugural balls for Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. The AP reports that 21,000 National Guard troops will be on the ground Wednesday, alongside D.C. police and federal law enforcement agencies.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser is telling people to stay home, the AP reports, and a number of downtown roads and metro stations will be closed.

Wulkan said that although he’s nervous about the threat of violence, he’s also “fully confident” that Biden will be inaugurated.

“I think if some of the threats of violence do come to pass — which I think is quite possible — I think having so many National Guard and law enforcement (agencies) mobilized gives us a chance to nip something even worse in the bud,” Wulkan said.

Raymond Neal, a Greenfield resident, said he’s “really excited” for the inauguration and regrets that he won’t be able to watch it Wednesday due to a work obligation.

“I’m looking forward to the Trump presidency being over,” Neal said.

He feels it is sad that, in light of possible violence, people are being advised not to attend the event.

“My son and I were just talking about when we had visited Washington D.C. as tourists two years ago, we really loved it,” Neal said. “When I saw all the terrible stuff happening to it, I was remembering us visiting the Capitol and doing the tour and seeing all the sites.”

Neal was referencing the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol building.

“I don’t know anyone who is going, but I’d be really cautious if I was,” he said of the inauguration. “I’ve seen some poignant images of the National Guard camped out in the Capitol.”

Another Greenfield resident, Rachael Balcanoff, said she plans to watch the inauguration.

“I’m excited for the change and I wish it could just be about celebrating the event, but there’s so much fear around it — not knowing what will happen, based on Jan. 6,” she said. “It’s unfortunate so much of it is focused on that.”

Mary Byrne can be reached at mbyrne@recorder.com or 413-930-4429. Twitter: @MaryEByrne

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