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From Lynchburg To D.C., Liberty University Students Travel To Witness History

Students from Liberty University make the trip from Lynchburg, Va., to Washington, D.C., to attend Donald Trump's inauguration.
Ari Shapiro
Students from Liberty University make the trip from Lynchburg, Va., to Washington, D.C., to attend Donald Trump's inauguration.

All Things Considered co-host Ari Shapiro is on a road trip leading up to the inauguration of Donald Trump on Jan. 20. He is driving through North Carolina and Virginia, on the way to Washington, D.C. These are two swing states that went in opposite directions in November, each by a close margin: North Carolina for Trump, Virginia for Hillary Clinton. As the country faces dramatic changes, we're asking people what they want from that change — and what concerns them.

A group of about a dozen students from Liberty University gather in a parking lot in Lynchburg, Va., on Thursday, hours before the sun comes up.

The students at the conservative Christian school look ready for church: The men wear neckties; the women are in high heels.

Some of these students were first-time voters in November; one knocked on 10,000 doors for the Republican Party in Wisconsin.

All of them are Donald Trump fans, and they are heading to Washington, D.C., to watch his inauguration.

"I'm just super excited to get involved in politics and see something historical," says 18-year-old Andrew Watkins.

Kayla Bailey, also 18, says she hopes a Trump administration can bring some relief to West Virginia, her home state.

"We've seen a really big decline in our economy, and a lot of people are addicted to drugs and don't have any hope any more," she says. "And so I'd really like to see sort of my home state get better because after eight years it's been a really hard process to watch people suffer."

They pile into a caravan of cars, and after a four-hour drive from Lynchburg, the Washington monument appears on the horizon.

Use the audio link above to hear the full story.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Ari Shapiro has been one of the hosts of All Things Considered, NPR's award-winning afternoon newsmagazine, since 2015. During his first two years on the program, listenership to All Things Considered grew at an unprecedented rate, with more people tuning in during a typical quarter-hour than any other program on the radio.