By Lauren Winslow
On Wednesday, January 20, Joe Biden was sworn into office as the 46th president of the United States. The day was full of ceremony, celebration of democracy, and fast office action by Biden.
The day was long but eventful. By 9:00 AM, President Donald Trump left the White House and Washington D.C. for the last time as president. After claiming for months that the election had been stolen from him, he wished the Biden administration luck but also suggested his possible “return to Washington and the White House.
At the inauguration, Senator Amy Klobuchar was first to speak and commented on the violent events of January 6. Following this, Lady Gaga sang a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem and Fire Captain Andrea Hall spoke the Pledge Allegiance.
At 11:42 AM, Kamala Harris was sworn into office as the first Black and South Asian Vice President of the United States. The oath was administered by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
Shortly after, Jeneifer Lopez performed “This Land is Your Land” and “America the Beautiful,” and at 11:49 AM Biden was sworn into office as the 46th president of the United States of America which was administered by Chief Justice John Roberts. Biden then delivered his speech, addressing his hopes and desire to improve the United States throughout the next four years. Entering into the office during a pandemic with ongoing political and racial dissension, President Biden established a sense of American pride, while addressing some of the country's downfalls: “now is the time to celebrate the triumph not of a candidate, but of a cause, the cause of democracy,” President Joe Biden said. Simultaneously, Biden addressed the issues that plague American society such as political extremism, white supremacy and domestic terrorism. Biden’s speech was followed by country singer Garth Brooks’ performance of “Amazing Grace.”
American poet Amanda Gorman also wrote and recited a poem entitled “The Hill We Climb,” addressing the violence of the January 6 siege of the capitol, the great history that Kamala Harris has made as the first female Vice President and the need for significant political change. She also spoke a message of encouragement for everyone to work towards the betterment of the country.
“The United States isn’t broken but simply unfinished” she said. She further emphasized that everyone should be working to make the “country committed to all cultures, colors, characters, and conditions of man.”
Trump decided not to attend the inauguration, breaking a long-standing tradition. However, former President Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and former Vice-President Mike Pence’s presence displayed the peaceful transfer of power and bipartisanship despite Trump’s failure to do so. However, Trump did wish the Biden administration his best of luck.
Later on, Biden and Harris paraded through Washington just before the virtually held celebration “Parade Across America'' from the inauguration committee. Finally, at 3:20 PM, Biden, first lady Dr. Jill Biden and their family entered the White House for the first time in Biden’s presidency.
Biden also spent a good portion of the day signing his first 17 executive orders including measures requiting masks on federal property and during interstate travel, rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement and ending the construction of the border wall.
Despite the unusual circumstances of this year's inauguration, the tone of the day was overall inspiring and hopeful for the future. Even with the country divided with political beliefs and the struggles that come with COVID-19, the inauguration was a reminder that there is always a future for America and that unity is essential to the prosperity of the nation.