Archived News

DC dispatch: Jan. 21

Workers remove what's left of the inaugural ceremonies in Washington D.C. on Thursday, Jan. 21. Workers remove what's left of the inaugural ceremonies in Washington D.C. on Thursday, Jan. 21. Jeffrey Delannoy photo

It wasn’t exactly the fall of the Berlin Wall, but on Thursday, Jan. 21, workers in Washington, D.C. began disassembling the miles of fence girdling the core of the federal district that kept Americans literally and figuratively separated from their government during the inauguration.  

Not as significant as the Iron Curtain, no – if only because of its longevity – but still, in a nation where the citizenry generally feels safe generationally, the gulf between the guards and the guarded hadn’t been greater in some time.

A return to normalcy is what it is. People on the streets. Garbage cans. Underground trains, both coming and going. Temporary fencing, stacked and packed by forklifts. Soldiers in black ski masks loading out, bound for warmer places. Demonstrators and journalists, too. 

First it was 25,000. Then, 20,000. Then, 15,000. Now, they say, there are 10,000 National Guard troops in this city of 700,000.

Washington, to those who’ve been here, has always been a welcoming and friendly city for Americans and international visitors alike. This is Washington, again.

SMN Politics Editor Cory Vaillancourt and photographer Jeffrey Delannoy reported from Washington, D.C., all this week. Check back for print coverage and more in the next issue of The Smoky Mountain News, available online and on newsstands on Wednesday, Jan. 27.  

Smokey Mountain News Logo
Go to top
Payment Information


At our inception 20 years ago, we chose to be different. Unlike other news organizations, we made the decision to provide in-depth, regional reporting free to anyone who wanted access to it. We don’t plan to change that model. Support from our readers will help us maintain and strengthen the editorial independence that is crucial to our mission to help make Western North Carolina a better place to call home. If you are able, please support The Smoky Mountain News.

The Smoky Mountain News is a wholly private corporation. Reader contributions support the journalistic mission of SMN to remain independent. Your support of SMN does not constitute a charitable donation. If you have a question about contributing to SMN, please contact us.