This past Wednesday, Joe Biden was inaugurated as the 46th president of the United States after a long and tumultuous four years of Donald Trump’s presidency. Wednesday was heartfelt, hopeful, and hilarious. If you didn’t get a chance to watch the Inauguration, these are the best moments you have to know about.
Amanda Gorman- “The Hill We Climb”
Amanda Gorman, a 22-year old poet and activist from Los Angeles, California, making her the youngest person to recite poetry for a president’s inauguration. After she delivered her poem, the world was raving about her message of hope for the future of this country. While I was watching her, there were some words that stuck with me.
“Somehow we've weathered and witnessed
a nation that isn’t broken
but simply unfinished
We the successors of a country and a time
Where a skinny Black girl
descended from slaves and raised by a single mother
can dream of becoming president
only to find herself reciting for one”
Amanda Gorman gave the U.S. the words we’ve been searching for for a long time and her words have helped to remind us that this country is far from completion and that the moments we are not proud of are not incurable. Since the inauguration, Gorman has received so much support and praise for her words. In her interview with CNN, she said that the insurrection of January 6th, furthered her determination to send a message of hope and unity to her country.
Link to CNN interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qHhut5nhI8g
Obama, Clinton, and Bush’s Reunion
Former presidents, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush gathered together Wednesday after the inauguration of Joe Biden to offer their support and congratulations to the 46th president of the United States. Obama speaks on his inauguration and recalls that his favorite experience was the grace and kindness shown to him by the outgoing first family of George W. Bush saying, “It was a reminder that we can have fierce disagreements, and yet recognize each other's common humanity and that as Americans, we have more in common than what separates us.”
Clinton touches on the challenges ahead for Biden, but reminds him to “do what we do best, which is try to form a more perfect union.”
Seeing three former presidents from different parties speak on the importance of unity and the peaceful transfer of power was moving to say the least.
Link to Obama, Bush, and Clinton video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-QvIIctZ5AE
Kamala Harris’s Historic Inauguration
Children born after January 20th 2021 will never know a time where there was not a woman vice president. Kamala Harris was sworn in as the first African American, first Asian American, and first woman Vice President the United States has ever had. After the inauguration, Harris turned to Twitter to acknowledge the weight of her inauguration as the vice president tweeting, “I stand on the shoulders of those who came before me.”
Being the “first” of anything puts on the added pressure of proving the naysayers who came before you wrong and inspiring those that will come after you. Kamala is the first but most definitely will not be the last.
Link to the tweet referenced: https://twitter.com/VP/status/1352274079051620360
Jennifer Lopez- “This Land is Your Land”
Jennifer Lopez performed a stunning rendition of “This Land is Your Land” with a little bit of a twist. Before singing the last verses Lopez said a phrase in Spanish, and if you unfortunately do not speak the language, like me, you were left wondering what was said. After finishing the verses, “From Sea to Shining Sea,” J. Lo recited part of the pledge of allegiance saying the words “One Nation, Under God, with liberty and justice for all.”
Despite hearing this phrase a countless number of times, hearing it recited at the presidential inauguration moved me because of what is symbolized. The former president, Donald J. Trump led the country through division and hate, and to see true diversity from the “standard” white, English speaker, was a clear reminder that this country has always been and will continue to be a great melting pot of race and culture that is celebrated.
Link to J. Lo’s performance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9QEGv7REuXw
Articles to cite: https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/news/jennifer-lopez-inauguration-biden-performance-spanish-meaning-b1790195.html , https://www.today.com/news/obama-bush-clinton-preach-unity-video-released-biden-takes-office-t206416 , https://thehill.com/homenews/news/535052-read-transcript-of-amanda-gormans-inaugural-poem