Joe Biden inaugurated as the 46th president of the U.S.

Alex Hopper, News Editor

On Jan. 20, Joseph R. Biden was inaugurated as the 46th president of the U.S. 

It was a historic inauguration, following an election which garnered the most voting participation in U.S. history and with Kamala Harris being the first female and woman of color to hold the Vice Presidential office. 

Fear and uncertainty also surrounded the event due to push-back from Trump supporters which ended in an insurrection on the Capitol building just two weeks prior.  

The theme of the inauguration was “America United,” which mirrors the Biden/Harris ticket’s focus during their campaign. 

“[America United] reflects the beginning of a new national journey that restores the soul of America, brings the country together, and creates a path to a brighter future,” said an announcement from the Presidential Inaugural Committee.

Another departure from past inaugurations, precautions were set in place to not only stop the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic but also to secure the event in light of the recent insurrection attempt on the Capitol.  

Attendees were kept to minimum and the traditional crowd around the National Mall was replaced by a “field of flags” representing all 50 states. 

An unprecedented level of security, provided by the national guard, was also in effect in order to safeguard the event. 

A noted absence from the event was former President Donald Trump who was one of only seven outgoing presidents to not attend their successor’s inauguration. 

However, other former presidents and first ladies were in attendance such as Barack and Michele Obama, Bill and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and George W. and Laura Bush. 

The inauguration featured several performances. 

Lady Gaga performed the National Anthem, Jennifer Lopez sang “This Land is Your Land,” and garth brooks led the audience in “Amazing Grace.”

American’s first National Youth Poet Laureate, Amanda Gorman recited her poem “The Hill We Climb.”

“When day comes we ask ourselves where can we find light in this ever-ending shade?” said Groman as she began her poem. The Hill We Climb” was a powerful statement of hope for unity and togetherness. To compose a country committed to all cultures, color, characters, and conditions of man,” said Gorman. “And so we lift our gazes not to what stands between us but what stands before us.”We close the divine because we know to put our future first, we must first put our differences aside,” said Gorman. 

Vice President Kamala Harris was sworn in by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the first Hispanic and Latina member of the Court. 

The crowd erupted into cheers, with President Biden waving his fists in triumph, as Harris officially took her place in history. 

President Biden’s inaugural address set the tone for his administration being committed to upholding democracy and restoring unity within the country. 

“This is America’s day. This is democracy’s day. A day of history and hope, of renewal and resolve,” said Biden. 

Biden’s speech focused on the pivotal topics of his campaign such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the ongoing fight for racial justice, and unifying the country. 

“To overcome these challenges – to restore the soul and to secure the future of America – requires more than words. It requires that most elusive of things in democracy, unity,” said Biden.

The overarching message within the address focused on optimism and hope for the coming years. 

“We look ahead in our uniquely American way – restless, bold, optimistic – and set our sights on the nation we know we can be and we must be,” said Biden.  

World leaders offered their support of President Biden following the inauguration. 

President of the EU Commission Ursula von der Leyen commented by saying there is “a friend in the White House.”

“This new dawn in America is the moment we’ve been waiting for so long,” said Leyen. “Europe is ready for a news start with our oldest and most trusted partner.”

“As I said when I spoke with him on his election as president, I look forward to working with him and his new administration,” said U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson. 

“Strengthening the partnership between our countries and working on our shared priorities from tackling climate change, and strengthening our transatlantic security,” said Johnson. 

Several other U.K. ambassadors as well as Queen Elizabeth II sent their congratulations to Biden. 

Following the inauguration, the Biden administration immediately began their work.

The agenda included requiring masks and social distancing on all federal property, halting production on the U.S.-Mexican border wall, extending eviction freeze, extending student loan pause, revoking the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, and rejoining the Paris Agreement. 

President Emmanuel Macron of France welcomed the U.S. back to the Paris Agreement. 

“We will be stronger to face the challenges of our time. Stronger to build our future. Stronger to protect our planet. Welcome back,” said Macron.

Biden also moved to revoke Trump’s travel ban from predominantly Muslim countries Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. 

Biden signed 15 executive orders and two other directives wasting no time his first day in office.

Many of those orders began to accomplish Biden’s plan for what his administration will accomplish within the first 100 days he is in office.

These plans also include a 1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package to hopefully tackle the pandemic. 

Jan. 20 marked the first day of the next four years of the Biden administration.

With this inauguration, America has ushered in a new start and the Biden coined “battle for the soul of the nation” has been won.