President Joseph R. Biden Jr. was sworn into office as the 46th President of the United States on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021.
Biden’s inauguration comes at the heels of a Jan. 6 insurrectionist attempt at taking over the capitol by Trump supporters after what many considered to be a call to action by former President Donald Trump. The event also brought forward the possibility of second impeachment. While giving one of his final addresses, Trump was quoted telling attendees of a “Save America” march that they would have to “work much harder” and “show strength” in order to encourage Congress not to confirm President Biden’s presidency.
On inauguration day, however, there were no signs of the violent acts and feelings that had crowded the capitol just two weeks before. The National Mall was void of attendees and instead covered in flags from all 50 states, Washington, D.C., American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands meant to represent the crowds that would’ve covered the Mall if not for COVID-19.
The tone of President Biden’s inauguration seemed intentional, with the President’s remarks focusing on unity and hope after four years of fragmented democracy.
“This is America’s day. This is democracy’s day. A day of history and hope,” Biden said, opening his remarks with a celebration.
Biden continued in a similar fashion throughout the speech, committing to a message of rebuilding and noting the divide between Republicans and Democrats.
“We must end this uncivil war that pits red against blue,” Biden said. “Rural versus urban, conservative versus liberal. We can do this if we open our souls instead of hardening our hearts.”
Near the end of the speech, the song “American Anthem” was recited before the President promised to uphold the messages of his campaign during his time in office as well as promising to defend the Constitution and democracy.
“So, with purpose and resolve we turn to the tasks of our time. Sustained by faith. Driven by conviction.And, devoted to one another and to this country we love with all our hearts,” Biden said.
After the inaugural address, first-ever youth poet laureate Amanda Gorman recited a poem written specifically for the event. Gorman focused on the motifs of light and mercy in her poem titled “The Hill We Climb. The poem included lines such as: “We will not be turned around / or interrupted by intimidation / because we know our inaction and inertia / will be the inheritance of the next generation” and “For there is always light / if only we’re brave enough to see it.”
After the inauguration, tradition is that the exiting president will welcome the entering president to the White House and will then be walked to a motorcade by the new president.
Trump, however, was nowhere to be found. Leaving early in the morning by helicopter, the tradition was moved onto the shoulders of former Vice President Mike Pence and Vice President Kamala Harris. Trump’s absence during the day did not go unnoticed as he arrived in Florida during the ceremony.
In the hours following his official swearing in ceremony, Biden began to do the work we’ve all been waiting for: dismantling the Trump era policies of the last four years. That afternoon, the President rejoined the Paris Climate Agreement, nixed the funding of the Keystone XL pipeline and ended the travel ban imposed by Trump meant to restrict primarily Muslims from entering the country.
As President Biden enters his first one hundred days, he and the country look forward and leave the last four years behind.