The Inauguration of Joseph R. Biden Jr.


Saul Loeb/Pool Photo Via AP

The 46th President of the United States, Joe Biden being sworn into office alongside his wife First Lady Jill Biden

Liz Kobel, Writer

After much divide and conflict between both parties, President-Elect Joe Biden was sworn into office. He was sworn in alongside his running mate Kamala Harris making her the first female Vice President, first African American Vice President, and the first Asian Vice President. Both Joe Biden and Kamala Harris defeated the incumbent President and Vice President, Donald Trump and Mike Pence in November of 2020. This is the first time an incumbent President has been defeated in over three decades. This event has been controversial, since many supporters of now former President Trump believe he was the true winner, and should have fulfilled a second term. In fact his supporters stormed the United States capital on January 6th, in an effort to protest the election results. These protests turned into violent rampages that left five people dead. This led to President Trump’s second impeachment by the House of Representatives, in which they presented a charge that describes the former President leaving encouraging words to the mob that violently stormed the capitol. Nevertheless, Joe Biden became the 46th President just before noon, on January 20th 2021, making this day historic.

The Ceremony

For weeks now, Washington D.C. has prepared for the inaugural ceremony. There was much evidence that right-wing groups would protest especially in Washington, so fences with barbed wires were set up to make sure the country wouldn’t have a repeated incident like the one on January 6th. After all, the President Elect was sworn in right in the very place that the storming occurred. Like every inauguration, former presidents are expected to attend, but with the uniqueness of this election and the division between both candidates, President Trump did not attend the ceremony, but his Vice President Mike Pence did. Former President Jimmy Carter who is 96, did not travel to the inauguration either. Other former Presidents like Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and their wives were all present during the inauguration. The ceremony began with Reverend Leo Donavon, a priest who began with a prayer. This was a significant moment because Joe Biden is only the Second Catholic President since John F.Kennedy. Singer Lady Gaga performed the national anthem, Jennifer Lopez performed This land is your Land, country singer Garth Brooks performed Amazing Grace, and fire captain Andrea Hall who was the first African American female firefighter to become captain of the fire department in South Fulton, Georgia delivered the Pledge of Allegiance. Kamala Harris was the first to be sworn in. She was sworn in by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina Justice on the Supreme Court. Joe Biden was sworn in like always by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Roberts. Joe Biden repeated the oath, “I Joseph Robinette Biden Jr do solemnly swear, that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve protect and defend the constitution of the United States, so help me God.”

After both the President and the Vice President were sworn in, Joe Biden like all Presidents prepared a speech. In the speech he talked about his message for unity, to fight the pandemic, systematic racism, and the climate crisis. He also included a silent prayer for all the lives lost due to the pandemic. He concluded the speech with the words “I will defend the constitution. I’ll defend our democracy. I’ll defend America and I will give you all, all of you. Keep everything I do in your service, thinking not of power, but of possibilities, not of personal interests, but the public good. And together we shall write an American story of hope, not fear. Of unity, not division. Of light, not darkness. A story of decency and dignity, love and healing, greatness and goodness. May this be the story that guides us. The story that inspires us and the story that tells ages yet to come that we answered the call of history. We met the moment. Democracy and hope, truth and justice did not die on our watch, but thrived. That America secured liberty at home and stood once again as a beacon to the world. That is what we owe our forbearers, one another and generations to follow.”