Everything You Need To Know About Biden's One of a Kind Inauguration Day

At a time of great uncertainty for many aspects of Americans’ lives, Biden’s Inauguration Day exhibited both a ‘new normal’ as well as incredulous change. While streaming the ceremony, viewers noticed procedures of social distancing and mask-wearing set in place, along with a large police presence amid the controversy concerning the election and the recent riots at the United States Capitol. The security of attendees was at the utmost importance with over 25,000 National Guard members dispensed to the D.C. area and additional lines of fences set up throughout the National Mall. No credible security threats were reported and only a few protestors were present in Washington D.C. The National Guard also made a presence at state capitols for the inauguration. Their attendance kept the limited number of protestors amongst the capitols peaceful.

Law Enforcement Officer walking a k-9 in front of the Historic Old Florida Capitol building Photo by Tori Lynn Schneider/Tallahassee Democrat

While many were prepared for an inauguration plagued by violence or protests, the quiet nature of the inauguration was a key factor that set it apart from previous ceremonies. Despite the historical firsts of Kamala Harris taking her oath of office, COVID-19 protocols and security concerns kept many hopeful attendees either waiting in line or sitting at home to stream the inauguration instead. Despite the lack of public attendance and the physical distance between those who came, Biden’s inaugural address surrounded the idea of reviving a more unified America. His address to the nation stressed his goals of “Bringing America together. Uniting our people. And uniting our nation.” In doing so, he ensured that he would be a president to address and advance racial equality, enact policies to restore the health of Americans and find unity between political parties to best serve the American people.

Harris made a statement on Inauguration Day by choosing Eugene Goodman, a Black male police officer who defended the U.S. Capitol during its storming, as her escort to the inauguration. By taking the ceremonial Vice-Presidential oath, Kamala Harris was sworn in as not only the first female but also the first Black and South Asian Vice President in American history. This historic event was accompanied by another. Former President Donald Trump now joins Andrew Johnson as the second one-term President who did not attend the swearing-in of his successor. While former Vice President Mike Pence was present, Trump was reported leaving the White House with his wife for his home in Florida. Before his departure, a small gathering was held as a farewell to the former President where he promised, “We will be back in some form.”  

Traditionally, an inaugural parade would take place following the ceremony. However, as we all know, this year has been anything but traditional. Just as schools and clubs adjusted to Zoom, the new President took to the internet to throw a “Parade Across America” featuring athletes, singers and dancers from across the United States. Some notable contributors include High School Musical choreographer, Kenny Ortega, who will produce a “Dance Across America”, as well as the band Earth, Wind and Fire. In addition to the modified parade, the Biden Inaugural Committee worked to represent the Americans unable to attend the inauguration by installing a public display on the National Mall named “Field of Flags.”  The area from the third to the thirteenth street was covered in over 191,000 flags to symbolize the public’s representation and support of the new President and Vice President of the United States of America.

Though the Inauguration represents an American tradition, the whole world was watching in hopes for a peaceful transfer of power. Many world leaders, even the Catholic Pope, took to social media to congratulate Biden and Harris. The European Commission President expressed her sentiments via Twitter saying, “The United States is back. And Europe stands ready.”   French President Emmanuel Macron also sent hopeful messages by tweeting, “We are together. We will be stronger to face the challenges of our time.” 

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