By Ana Martinez-Ortiz
A majority of the time, Jan. 20 is an innocuous date, but every four years, its significance in America increases as it marks the day when the president-elect becomes president of the United States.
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were sworn in as the president and vice president on the front of the U.S. Capitol Building on Wednesday, Jan. 20
Shortly after being sworn in, Biden gave his first speech as president of the United States.
“Today, we celebrate the triumph not of a candidate, but of a cause, the cause of democracy,” Biden said. “The people, the will of the people, has been heard and the will of the people has been heeded.”
“At this hour, my friends, democracy has prevailed,” he continued.
During his speech, Biden emphasized the need for unity.
“Uniting to fight the foes we face: anger, resentment, hatred, extremism, lawlessness, violence, disease, joblessness and hopelessness,” he said. “With unity, we can do great things, important things.”
He explained that for America to defeat the coronavirus pandemic and come out stronger on the other side, its people will need to bridge the divide.
Harris gave a speech during the “Celebrating America” special later that night. Harris is the first female, Black and South Asian vice president of the United States.
“In many ways, this moment embodies our character as a nation,” Harris said. “It demonstrates who we are.”
Harris spoke of the aspiration of Americans and how it led them to place the American flag on the moon, to fight for civil rights, to ensure every citizen has the right to vote and more.
“A great experiment takes great determination,” she said. “The will to do the work, and then the wisdom to keep refining, keep tinkering, keep perfecting. The same determination is being realized in America today.”
The “Celebrating America” event included performances by John Legend, Demi Lovato, Bruce Springsteen and featured Kerry Washington, Eva Longoria and more. However, one of the most talked about performances took place during the inaugural ceremony when Amanda Gorman, the nation’s youth poet laureate, performed her poem “The Hill We Climb.”
“And yet the dawn is ours, before we knew it, somehow we do it,” Gorman recited. “Somehow we’ve weathered and witnessed a nation that isn’t broke but simply unfinished.”
“And yes, we are far from polished far from pristine but that doesn’t mean we are striving to form a union that is perfect. We are striving to forge a union with purpose. To compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and conditions of man.”
It’s a new day in America, and with it comes a renewed sense of hope.
The inauguration and other inaugural events are available to watch at bideninaugural.org.