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Trumps Wrap Up Inauguration Day At 3 Balls


President Donald Trump and Melania Trump appeared at three inaugural balls last night, including the Liberty and Freedom balls at the Washington Convention Center.


PRES DONALD TRUMP: Well, we just want to thank everybody. This has been an amazing journey for all of us - not just me and not just Melania. It's been an amazing journey. And now the work begins.

SIMON: The Trumps did not dance to a song by B.J. Leiderman, who does our theme music, but instead to "My Way," the song made famous by Frank Sinatra.


ERIN BOHEME: (Singing) I traveled each and every highway. And more, much more than this, I did it my way.

SIMON: They made their way to the Salute Our Armed Services ball at the National Building Museum. That's where NPR's Elizabeth Blair spent the evening.

ELIZABETH BLAIR, BYLINE: As soon as the doors opened, men and women, most of them in uniform, streamed in to the Armed Services ball, filling the great hall of the National Building Museum. Luis Colon flew to Washington from Clearwater, Fla., where he served in the National Guard.

LUIS COLON: So what are we doing that for? So that we can actually have a prosperous country and not be strangled. So I'm really excited about this. That's how I feel.

BLAIR: The National Building Museum is a massive space with high ceilings and enormous columns that were bathed in gold lighting. A pattern of stars and stripes were projected overhead. Before the entertainment began, one of the speakers, Col. Reggie Ash, pointed out an empty table that he said was there to honor POWs and MIAs.


REGGIE ASH: In addition to honoring President Trump and Vice President Pence tonight, we also honor those who cannot be with us.

BLAIR: Later in the evening, there was a live video conference with troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. Leading up to the festivities, there were questions about who would perform at the Armed Services ball. It was 1970s pop singer Tony Orlando and country newcomer Josh Weathers.


JOSH WEATHERS: I know nobody in this room knows who I am.

BLAIR: And yet the young singer from Fort Worth, Texas, got to serenade the 44th president of the United States and first lady. But first, Mr. Trump addressed the crowd.


TRUMP: But I just want to thank you on behalf of Melania and myself and the family and, really, millions and millions of people all over the world. The job you've done is absolutely incredible - absolutely incredible.

BLAIR: This was the last official ball of the evening. After dancing twice to "My Way" at the two other balls, the president and first lady Melania Trump ended the night with Josh Weathers singing something more romantic.


WEATHERS: (Singing) And I will always love you, baby. Yes, I, baby - I will always - I will always love you.

BLAIR: In keeping with tradition, they also danced with service members. Elizabeth Blair, NPR News, Washington.


WEATHERS: (Singing) I will always love you, baby. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Elizabeth Blair is a Peabody Award-winning senior producer/reporter on the Arts Desk of NPR News.
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