Inauguration Day: Biden Becomes 46th President of the United States


President Joe Biden via Facebook

Joe Biden was administered his presidential oath by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.

Emma Dortsch, Copy Editor

Following a turbulent election, former Vice President Joe Biden was sworn in as the United States’ 46th president on Wednesday.

Despite security concerns due to the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol just two weeks prior, the event took place on the building’s west front. Members of a smaller-than-usual audience were seen wearing masks and distancing on the steps.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar gave the opening remarks for the ceremony. Sen. Roy Blunt, chairman of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, also spoke, as well as Reverend Father Leo O’Donovan, who gave the invocation.

Following Lady Gaga’s performance of the national anthem, Georgia Fire Captain Andrea Hall recited the Pledge of Allegiance in both spoken English and American Sign Language.

In a historic moment, Sen. Kamala Harris became the U.S.’ first-ever female vice president, first vice president of Black descent and first vice president of South Asian descent. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor delivered Harris’ inaugural oath.

Jennifer Lopez took to the stage between inaugural addresses to perform “This Land Is Your Land.”

Biden, who served alongside President Barack Obama during his eight-year administration, was administered his presidential oath by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.

In his speech, Biden addressed the devastating effects that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the U.S., the economic struggles the country is facing and the current “rise of political extremism, white supremacy [and] domestic terrorism.”

“Few people in our nation’s history have been more challenged or found a time more challenging or difficult than the time we’re in now,” Biden said.

Biden called for unity among the American people to overcome these difficulties, saying “we have never, ever, ever failed in America when we have acted together.”

Biden’s speech also included a moment of silence for the 400,000 Americans lost to COVID-19 in the past year.

The closing acts of the inauguration ceremony were led by country artist Garth Brooks, who sang “Amazing Grace.”

22-year-old Amanda Gorman, who was the first to be granted the title of National Youth Poet Laureate in 2017, read her original poem “The Hill We Climb.” Reverend Silvester Beamen administered the ceremony’s benediction.

Later in the day, Biden and Harris took part in the wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery, along with former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Afterward, Biden was escorted to the White House by representatives from each branch of the U.S. military.

A virtual “Parade Across America” took place following the escort. The hourlong “parade” showed performances by groups and solo entertainers from all 50 U.S. states.

In place of an inaugural ball, a program called “Celebrating America” was broadcast on live television. The special was hosted by Tom Hanks, who stood in front of the Lincoln Memorial, and featured both live and prerecorded performances by celebrities and everyday Americans alike.

Former President Donald Trump was notably absent from the day’s events. He delivered a farewell speech early in the morning from Joint Base Andrews in which he recounted the achievements of his presidency. Trump ended his speech by thanking his audience and promising to “be back in some form” before leaving for Palm Beach, Florida.