On 20th January 2021, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were sworn in as the 46th President and the 49th Vice-President of the United States of America.
Amidst coronavirus precautions, absence of the outgoing President, and heightened security, this inauguration was different from the others, but was historic nevertheless, bringing about a message of peace and unity.
While outgoing President Donald Trump was missing from the proceedings, it was attended by many dignitaries, including former POTUS and First Lady, Barack Obama and Michelle Obama. Former Presidents Bill Clinton and George Bush were also in attendance.
Chief Justice John Roberts administered the oath of office to Joe Biden, who used a treasured family Bible that dates to the 19th century. Meanwhile, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor administered the oath to Kamala Harris, who used two Bibles. She made history by becoming the first female Vice-President.
Harris was escorted at her inauguration by Eugene Goodman, the heroic Capitol Police officer and US Army veteran who led a crowd of insurrectionists away from the Senate chamber on 6th January.
In his inaugural address, Biden emphasized themes of unity and recovery. “We must end this uncivil war that pits red against blue,” he said.
The inauguration was also a star-studded event, with Lady Gaga rendering the National Anthem. Singer Jennifer Lopez sang a beautiful medley of songs of American musical selections including “This Land is your Land” and “America the Beautiful.”
22-year-old poet Amanda Gorman also made history by becoming the youngest poet to perform at a presidential inauguration: she recited her poem, The Hill We Climb. In 2017, she also became the nation’s first youth poet.
Just hours after being sworn-in, President Biden halted the funding for the construction of the border wall endorsed by former President Trump by terminating the national emergency declaration used to fund it.
In terms of his decisions regarding the environment, he rejoined the Paris climate accord – a legally binding international treaty on climate change. This process that will take 30 days.
He also signed an order to halt the withdrawal of the United States from the World Health Organization. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, will participate in the WHO’s executive meeting remotely this week
To stop the spread of the pandemic, President Biden also imposed a mask mandate on any federal property.
World leaders congratulated both Biden and Harris on their inauguration.
Scott Morrison, the Prime Minister of Australia, tweeted:
The Australia-US Alliance has never been more important. I wish you both every success for your time in office and look forward to working closely with your new administration.
— Scott Morrison (@ScottMorrisonMP) January 20, 2021
Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi also tweeted his wishes for President Biden.
My warmest congratulations to @JoeBiden on his assumption of office as President of the United States of America. I look forward to working with him to strengthen India-US strategic partnership.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) January 20, 2021
President of France, Emmanuel Macron also conveyed his wishes to Biden and Harris.
To @JoeBiden and @KamalaHarris.
Best wishes on this most significant day for the American people!
We are together.
We will be stronger to face the challenges of our time. Stronger to build our future. Stronger to protect our planet. Welcome back to the Paris Agreement!
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) January 20, 2021
Dalai Lama tweeted saying that he was praying for Biden’s success:
I offer my profound congratulations to Joe Biden on becoming President of the United States of America. I am so pleased that he is giving high priority to the urgent issue of climate change. I pray for his success in meeting the challenges that lie ahead. https://t.co/6NPbf8f0mQ
— Dalai Lama (@DalaiLama) January 21, 2021
The inauguration also marked the end of one of the most divisive chapters in America history. We hope and pray that Biden’s term brings in more peace and harmony to the beleaguered nation.