The moment America knew Donald Trump would be president

NEW YORK — It was a decisive moment, a historic moment.

A moment when a nation realized its greatest hopes and darkest fears.

Where were you, we’ll ask each other, days or years from now. Where were you when Donald J. Trump confounded pundits and upended projections to become the President-Elect of the United States?

It will be hard to forget such a moment, or the pivotal images that have immortalized it.

To set the stage, here is CNN’s Wolf Blitzer making the announcement:

The emotion was instant.

You could see it in the crowds dotted with bright red hats who cheered, sobbed and embraced at Trump’s election night event at the New York Hilton Midtown hotel.

It was a moment of pure elation.

People cheer as voting results for Florida come in at Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s election night event at the New York Hilton Midtown on November 8, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

People cheer as voting results for Florida come in at Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s election night event at the New York Hilton Midtown on November 8, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The emotion was there too on the stunned faces of Hillary Clinton’s supporters who had gathered to celebrate what had, once, seemed like a likely victory.

People watch the voting results at Democratic presidential nominee former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's election night event at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center November 9, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

People watch the voting results at Democratic presidential nominee former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s election night event at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center November 9, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

For them, it was a moment of pure desolation.

In that moment, in the early hours of November 9 after nearly two years of an unprecedented and at times unbelievable campaign, the Empire State building glowed an uninterrupted red. Its facade bore a stories-high projection of Donald Trump: America’s next President.