The 59th Presidential Inauguration for President Joe R. Biden, Jr. and Vice President Kamala D. Harris on Wednesday, January 20, 2021, will forever be a historical moment in U.S. History. Due to the insurrections on January 6, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol and the global pandemic, the inauguration was mostly virtual. Nearly 40 million Americans and many more from around the world tuned in to watch the inauguration.
President Biden was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States by Chief Justice John Roberts. In his speech, he noted that it is challenging times due to the pandemic, the racial injustice, and the attack on the nation’s capital but that he hopes to bring unity to America. He stated that “Today on this January day, my whole soul is in this — bringing American people together, uniting our nation, and I ask every American to join me in this cause.” Biden continued to emphasize the need to be united and how he “will be a president for all Americans,” including “those who did not support me.”
Biden went on to state, “Here we stand looking out on the great Mall, where Dr. King spoke of his dream. Here we stand where 108 years ago, at another inaugural, thousands of protesters tried to block brave women marching for the right to vote. Today, we mark the swearing-in of the first woman in American history elected to national office, Vice President Kamala Harris.”
Madam Vice President Harris made “her-story” as the first female, Black, and South Asian vice president of the United States. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor swore her in as the 49th Vice President of the United States of America. In her speech, she talked about standing on the shoulders of those who came before her.
“… this moment embodies our character as a nation. It demonstrates who we are. Even in dark times, we not only dream, we do. We not only see what has been, we see what can be. We shoot for the moon, and then we plant our flag on it. We are bold, fearless, and ambitious. We are undaunted in our belief that we shall overcome; that we will rise up. This is American aspiration.”
Former Presidents attending the inaugurations included Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton. Although different from past inaugurations, the day was filled with lots of fireworks and moments that will be remembered in history. National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman delivered another inspirational moment at the inauguration in her poem, “The Hill We Climb,” where she exclaims, “… For while we have our eyes on the future, history has its eyes on us.” She ends her poem by stating, “There is always light. Only if we are brave enough to see it. There is always light. Only if we are brave enough to be it.”
Immediately following the inauguration, President Biden signed 17 executive orders to deal with the pandemic and rescinding some of the Trump Administration’s policies, among other measures. The vice president’s first act was to swear in the incoming senators, including Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock from Georgia, and Alex Padilla from California, to replace her seat.