Newly-elected Richmond City Commissioner Krystin Arnold had never seen the United States Capitol before Wednesday.
She never expected it would be a day that no American would soon forget.
As Arnold, bundled against the chill of the afternoon, listened to one of the many guest speakers scheduled to speak at the MAGA Freedom Rally D.C., a more sinister fraction of the more than 100,000 gathered near the Capitol was planning to storm the building.
The purpose of the rally Arnold attended, according to the commissioner was, "to gather to celebrate America, freedom, health and life with #1LoudVoice as one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
Numerous pro-Trump rallies were held on Wednesday in Washington D.C..
On of the larger gatherings was the March to Save America Rally in which the president spoke to supporters at The Ellipse in President's Park early in the afternoon.
On the organizations website is states,"Democrats are scheming to disenfranchise and nullify Republican votes. It’s up to the American people to stop it. Along with President Trump, we will do whatever it takes to ensure the integrity of this election for the good of the nation."
Drawing on baseless conspiracies, Trump unleashed a torrent of misinformation to supporters on Wednesday already convinced that his defeat was unfair, unswayed by the sweeping verdict of election officials, judges and justices and Trump’s own officials in the departments of Justice and Homeland Security that the Nov. 3 election was cleanly run and fairly counted in his remarks on Wednesday.
Arnold said she was excited to be in Washington D.C. on such an important day as the Electoral College votes were tallied on the Nov. 3 Presidential Election.
"The day went well during our time there," she said in an interview with The Register late Wednesday evening. "There were multiple events hosted at different locations throughout the day. As reported, there were large crowds with people from all over the United States."
Arnold said she was heartened to see swarms of people — whom she called "patriots" in a Facebook post — from different backgrounds and views gathered in front of the Capitol on Wednesday.
"Not only were people from every state there, different cultures and perspectives were also represented. Overall, the time spent there was positive for me," Arnold said of the early morning.
Arnold and her companion spent the day listening to guest speakers such as Roger Stone, George Papadopoulos, Pastor Greg Locke and Ty Bollinger.
The commissioner said the day was mostly peaceful, with the crowds adhering to the barriers which kept people some distance from the Capitol building.
The day shifted suddenly however, when, shortly after 2:30 p.m., President Donald Trump supporters overwhelmed the Capitol Police and stormed Congress on Wednesday afternoon, interrupting the certification of Joe Biden's Electoral College win and throwing the U.S. Capitol into a deadly spiral of chaos and violence.
Lawmakers, staff and reporters were forced to shelter in place and several House office buildings were evacuated due to potential bomb threats. Vice President Mike Pence was pulled from the Senate chamber. But the situation quickly spun out of control.
Arnold, who said she left shortly before the siege of the Capitol, said she learned what happened as she was driving back home to Richmond.
"Unfortunately, I received news later in the day that there was a group which had ignored the barriers and behaved in a manner that did not reflect my perceived convictions of the majority and certainly not my own," she said.
Earlier in the day Arnold posted a photo on social media among the crowds of President Trump supporters and then another informing her family and friends that she was safe and on her way back to Kentucky.
Very quickly, Arnold said her phone started to blow up with notifications and messages which interfered with GPS directions.
Following her post on Facebook about her marching at Washington D.C., Arnold said she temporarily deactivated her account so that she could safely make it home.
Arnold acknowledged that not all of the messages she received were positive.
"I had private requests from individuals to share pictures from the event I was attending. Like anything else, people shared their opinions freely -- some with positive statements and others not so much. To my knowledge, I would note that the comments came from individuals who were not in attendance," Arnold said. "All citizens have the right to their personal convictions to be treated with respect."