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By Susan Larson.

As Donald J. Trump takes the oath of office on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, to become the 45th President of the United States, a group of Fredericksburg residents will be hosting a Silent Inauguration.

“Rather than watch the inauguration on television, or take part in the program, we will come together and engage in silence,” said organizer Anne Little. Their purpose is to “show our president-elect that many millions reject his divisive messages and wish to turn away from his words of hate and exclusion.”

The event will begin at 11:30 a.m. in Hurkamp Park, 500 William St., in downtown Fredericksburg.

“At 11:50 a.m., we will recite the pledge of allegiance, hear a prayer, and sing the National Anthem,” Little said. And then at the moment—12 p.m. EST—that our new president takes the oath of office, we will observe 15 minutes of silence.”

Little said she and a group of neighbors planned the event after reading about the Silent Inauguration planned in Nashville. That group invited other cities to join them.

From the Silent Inauguration website:

“We will be civil, we will be orderly and lawful and show love and respect for our country. In contrast to the noise and vitriol of this presidential campaign, we will be quiet. In contrast to the demeaning rhetoric and hateful division towards our fellow Americans, we will offer support and community.

“We will gather and be silent. Silence is a powerful thing.

“Silence is a way to listen and to hear. Silence is a way to escape the shrill noise of the president-elect’s words. Silence is an opportunity to meditate or pray. In silence, we can express gratitude, find courage, summon hope, and pray for peace and healing. In silence, we can say, “God help us, be with us at this moment, and heal our nation. To those our president has hurt, let us pray for them.”

“We invite everyone to attend the Silent Inauguration. Join us in a spirit of love for our nation. Come join us and help those who have been marginalized, criticized, and hurt. Come join us and show our president-elect that many millions reject his divisive messages and wish to turn away from his words of hate and exclusion.”

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