On Jan. 20, 2009, then-Vice President-Elect Joe Biden stood next to then President-Elect Barack Obama as they were both sworn into office. Twelve years later, on Jan. 20, 2021, Joe Biden attended yet another Inauguration where he would be sworn into office- this time not as Vice President but as President.
This Inauguration day had been one that had many trials and tribulations leading up to it. The 2020 election lasted longer than the typical election process, as vote counts took nearly five days to finally declare the winner of the President and Vice President-elect races. A couple of months after the declared winner of the Presidential race, rioters violently protested the election results and falsely claimed there had been mass voter fraud. On Jan. 6, 2021, the U.S Capitol was stormed by mobs, and riots broke out throughout our capital city as Congress voted to certify the election results.
Following the riots in Washington D.C., two weeks before the critical day, security and safety precautions were heightened in response to armed protest threats for Inauguration day. There was an increase in road restrictions throughout the city, the military deployed the National Guard to keep watch, they expanded Secret Service security and attendance at the ceremony was limited. This limited attendance order was also due to the prevalent COVID-19 cases and the overall pandemic safety measures that had been established throughout the majority of President Biden and Vice President Kamala’s campaign in 2020. The Inauguration held approximately 1000 masked guests who were socially distanced in the outside seating area. Following the nation’s long-lived tradition, many of these guests included former Presidents such as Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, alongside the former first ladies: Hillary Clinton, Laura Bush and Michelle Obama. Former Vice President Mike Pence and former second lady Karen Pence attended. However, Former President Donald J. Trump and former first lady Melania Trump were not in attendance. This made Donald J. Trump the first president to ever skip an Inauguration ceremony since Andrew Johnson in 1865, which followed the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.
Once the ceremony began and before Biden and Kamala were sworn in, International Pop sensation Lady Gaga was escorted into the ceremony. Lady Gaga has long been known to support the Biden-Harris campaign and often urged fans to vote specifically in the previous 2020 election. She was invited to the Inauguration to sing the National Anthem. Sworn in shortly before Joe Biden was Kamala Harris – the nation’s first-ever female and person of color to serve as Vice President. Joe Biden was next to be officially sworn into office as the 46th President of the United States.
Following Biden and Harris’ confirmation, President Biden began his inauguration speech with a focus on the American people. Biden immediately acknowledged all the distress that the nation has faced: Covid-19, a loss of jobs, and many other hardships. But he also emphasized that the nation has risen to the challenge each and every time, and our proof of that was today’s Inauguration. With many positive remarks about the American people, he emphasized his dedication to all individuals in the United States, regardless of whether or not you supported his campaign. He also spoke about aiming to make the United States the leading force in the world despite constant divisions. He spoke about a time when women were unable to vote and contrasted it with our current scenario of having the first-ever female person of color as the second-highest role in the land. He used this moment to point out that change can be accomplished, and together, as a united nation, we will face more changes together. He then ended his Inauguration speech and first-ever public appearance as President of the United States by thanking America and condemning the polarization America faces.
With many doubts and cautions leading up to Inauguration day, President Joe Biden has been officially sworn in, and a new administration has begun. In the midst of a pandemic and the aftermath of violent protests in the United States, the country looks to President Biden and Vice President Harris for the renewed hope and dignity of our country.