President Biden’s Inauguration Day

For the majority of high schoolers, this is the first inauguration that we all witnessed during our high school years. For seniors, the last Inauguration Day they experienced was in their eighth-grade year, and for freshmen, the last one was during their elementary school years.

After what felt like the longest transition of a presidential term, Inauguration Day has finally been written down. As we all know, the path to January 20 was anything but peaceful. We did not know who the next president would be until four days after the November 3 election. Then there was a lengthy battle of votes being certified in Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Arizona with every type of legal battle enforced to make sure the count was legitimate. During the Electoral College certification of the votes on January 6, the Capitol was raided by rioters trying to overturn the results of a fair election. This prompted the Senators and Representatives to halt the confirmation process and rush to safety. Then a week later, the House of Representatives impeached former President Donald Trump for inciting an insurrection.

Trump did not attend the inauguration and instead decided to head home to Florida, but former Vice President Mike Pence attended. Inauguration Day had been highly anticipated by many supporters, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic still raging on and the aftermath of a deadly riot, there were no supporters in attendance at the inauguration. The National Mall, usually filled with hundreds of thousands of people from all over the country, was empty and instead covered in 200,000 flags of the 50 states, Washington D.C., and five U.S. territories. Roads were blocked all over D.C. and the presence of the armed troops patrolling the streets around the Capitol was very prevalent. 

Jennifer Lopez performed “This Land is Your Land” and “America the Beautiful” before the swearing-in. During a segment of her performance, she recited a part of the Pledge of Allegiance in Spanish.

“I liked when she said the pledge in Spanish,” senior Keitydrick Branch said, “because we are all one no matter what culture or race, we are.”

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris were sworn in a little before noon, officially marking Biden as the 46th president of the United States. Harris swore in with the same bible used by the late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. Marshall was the first African American justice and Harris is now the first African American, first Asian-American, and first woman vice president. Biden used a 127-year-old family bible that had been used during his former vice president and senate swearing-in ceremonies. Biden is also the second Catholic president to be in office behind John F. Kennedy.

Even with all the buzzing excitement of watching the first woman vice president swearing-in, what stole the spotlight of the inauguration were the fashionable, monochromatic coats and dresses worn. Former First Lady Michelle Obama wore a maroon coat that went down to her ankles and a golden belt buckle that correlated her maroon color perfectly. The First Lady, Jill Biden, wore a sparkly blue dress a matching blue coat and blue gloves. Vice President Kamala Harris wore a royal purple coat, and dress that could not have been missed. The granddaughters of President Biden all wore monochromatic colors of pink, camel, and white dresses with matching masks that also dominated social media. Poet Amanda Gorman sported a bright yellow jacket with a red mask and stole the hearts of millions of Americans with her moving poem about national unity. Additionally, social media was quick to create a viral meme of Bernie Sanders sitting in a folding chair in a tan coat and brown-patterned, woolen mittens.

As Biden promised, he signed 15 executive orders right after he left the ceremony. One of those executive orders included rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement that helps tackle the climate change crisis. In replacement of the Inaugural Ball that is usually always held, there was a virtual celebration featuring multiple high-profile celebrities, such as John Legend and Katy Perry, and was topped off with fireworks that lit down the National Mall.