Joe Biden was sworn in today as the 46th President of the United States.
While there was noticeably no crowd of supporters on the National Mall, the lawn was filled with American flags instead. As President Biden and Dr. Jill Biden arrived at the Capitol for the ceremony, he tweeted a message meant for the new First Lady.
“I love you, Jilly, and I couldn’t be more grateful to have you with me on the journey ahead,” read the tweet, which was posted alongside a short video of the couple holding hands as they arrived.
I love you, Jilly, and I couldn’t be more grateful to have you with me on the journey ahead. pic.twitter.com/V4GUXAKSKg
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) January 20, 2021
A number of former presidents were also in attendance. Former President Bill Clinton and 2016 Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, Former President George W. Bush and former first lady Laura Bush, and former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama were all present today. However, outgoing president Donald Trump was not in attendance; he left for Florida earlier this morning.
Lady Gaga opened the inauguration with a performance of the US National Anthem accompanied by the marine band. She sang into a golden mic while wearing a dove-shaped pin on her jacket.
Kamala Harris took the oath first, making her the first female, first Black, and first South Asian Vice President. She was sworn in by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor on two bibles: one that belonged to a former friend and one that belonged to Thurgood Marshall.
Then, after a performance of “This Land Is Your Land” by Jennifer Lopez, Joe Biden took the oath of office to become the 46th President. He was sworn in by Chief Supreme Court Justice John Roberts before addressing the nation.
“Today we celebrate the triumph, not of a candidate, but of a cause — the cause of democracy,” said Biden. “The will of the people has been heard, and the will of the people has been heeded. We’ve learned again that democracy is precious. Democracy is fragile. And at this hour, my friends, democracy has prevailed.”
“I thank my predecessors of both parties for their presence here today. I thank them from the bottom of my heart,” continued Biden. “And I know the resilience of our Constitution and the strength, the strength of our nation, as does President Carter, who I spoke with last night, who cannot be with us today, but whom we salute for his lifetime in service.”
A big theme of Biden’s speech was that of unity, of erasing the mistakes of past administrations — to bring the country together rather than dividing it further.
“To overcome these challenges, to restore the soul and secure the future of America, requires so much more than words,” he said. “It requires the most elusive of all things in a democracy: unity.”
Biden ended his remarks by promising to serve the people of the United States — and not himself — over his term.
“May this be the story that guides us, the story that inspires and the stories that tell ages yet to come that we answered the call of history. We met the moment, democracy and hope, truth and justice did not die on our watch but thrived, that America secured liberty at home and stood once again as a beacon to the world. That is what we owe our forebearers, one another and generations to follow. With purpose and resolve, we turn to those tasks of our time, sustained by faith, driven by conviction and devoted to one another and the country we love with all hearts,” Biden said.
Following Biden’s speech, country singer Garth Brooks performed a rendition of “Amazing Grace.” National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman also spoke, performing a poem on the nation’s resilience.
“We will not march back to what was, but move to what shall be, a country that is bruised but whole, benevolent but bold, fierce and free,” she said. “We will not be turned around or interrupted by intimidation because we know our inaction and inertia will become the future….Light, if only we are brave enough to see it, if only we are brave enough to be it.”