On Wednesday, Jan. 20, Kamala Devi Harris and Joseph Robinnette Biden Jr. were sworn into office as the vice president and 46th president of the United States of America.
Former President Donald Trump broke precedent and refused to concede and attend the inauguration of Biden and Harris; however, former Vice President Mike Pence was in attendance. The 59th Inauguration Ceremony was opened by Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who spoke of the recent breach of Capitol Hill and passing the torch of democracy. Klobuchar said the celebration of a new president and the first African American and Asian American woman vice president would “restore the soul of America."
“Two weeks ago when an angry, violent mob staged an insurrection and desecrated this temple of our democracy, it awakened us to our responsibilities as Americans,” Klobuchar said. “This is the day when our democracy picks itself up, brushes off the dust and does what America always does — goes forward as a nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
Following Klobuchar’s opening remarks, Chair of Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, Sen. Roy Blunt said inaugurations are a moment of celebration that has been held through war, economic depression and now a pandemic every four years since 1789. Blunt said the theme for this inauguration would serve as a reminder for the United States to continue moving forward.
“That theme for this inauguration — our determined democracy, forging a more perfect union — was announced by the joint committee before the election with the belief that the United States can only fulfill its promises and set an example for others if we are always working to be better than we have been,” Blunt said.
Reverend Father Leo Jeremiah O’Donovan III led a prayer over the inauguration before Lady Gaga sang the National Anthem. Following the National Anthem and Pledge of Allegiance, Justice Sonya Sotomayor, the first Hispanic woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, swore in Vice President Kamala Harris.
"I, Kamala Devi Harris, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God,” Harris repeated after Sotomayer.
After a performance by Jennifer Lopez, Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts administered the presidential oath to Biden, who swore on a bible that has been in his family for 128 years.
"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,” repeated Biden.
In Pres. Biden’s inaugural address, he called for unity and hope amid the challenges America is facing.
“This is America’s day,” Biden said. “This is democracy’s day. A day of history and hope, of renewal and resolve. Through a crucible for the ages, America has been tested anew and America has risen to the challenge. Today, we celebrate the triumph not of a candidate, but of a cause, a cause of democracy … At this hour, my friends, democracy has prevailed.”
Biden closed his address with a new vision for the “American story” that he will lead as the 46th President of the United States of America.
“And together we shall write an American story of hope, not fear; of unity, not division; of light, not darkness,” Biden said. “A story of decency and dignity, love and healing, greatness and goodness. May this be the story that guides, the story that inspires us and the story that tells age is yet to come.”