It was a history making afternoon in more ways than one.
On Wednesday, Jan. 20th Joseph R. Biden was sworn in as America’s 46th President of the United States alongside Kamala D. Harris who was sworn in as America’s Vice President, making her the first female to do so.
The invite-only audience was full of familiar faces. Former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton along with former First Ladies Michelle Obama, Laura Bush, and Hilary Clinton were in attendance along with members of Congress from both parties. Former Vice President Dan Quail was also in attendance.
Despite having objected to Biden’s win just two weeks ago, Senators Ted Cruz and Lindsay Graham were also in attendance.
For the first time ever, the general public was not allowed to attend due to security and pandemic concerns. Instead, the national mall was covered in 191,500 American flags planted by the Presidential Inaugural Committee.
Roughly 25,000 police officers and members of the national guard were brought in for an added safety measure as Biden’s Inauguration took place amid severe threats to the Capitol and government officials following the insurrection from Jan. 6th.
Notably, Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman escorted Harris and her husband into the Capitol. Two weeks ago, Goodman successfully diverted insurrectionists away from the main rooms and is being honored as an American hero. Since the events from the sixth, Goodman has been promoted to Deputy Sergeant of Arms.
There were also performances by Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, and Garth Brooks. Along with an invocation from Father Leo J. O’Donovan and a benediction from Rev. Silvester Beaman. Another highlight was the spoken word piece performed by poet laureate Amanda Gorman.
Amid all of the history making changes that happened at the 58th inauguration, one thing remained the same: the President’s national address.
The theme of Biden’s speech was unity.
Biden promised jobs, healthcare for all, and safe schools during his speech while continuously stressing the importance of Americans working together. “The American story depends not on one of us, not on some of us, but on all of us,” said Biden.
As Biden was sworn in, Covid-19 deaths in America hit 402,000. During his speech, Biden held a moment of silent prayer for those that have died and pledged to get the pandemic under control saying, “We must set aside politics and face this pandemic as one nation.”
He also touched on the growing racial tensions in America. After quoting Abraham Lincoln’s speech from 1863 at the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, Biden said, “My whole soul is in this, bringing America together, uniting our people, uniting our nation and I ask every American to join in this cause.”
Without addressing Trump by name and the white supremacists that reared their heads throughout the last four years, Biden touched on the hate that has been in this country since its creation saying, “The forces that divide us are deep and they are real, but I also know that they are not new.”
Biden also spoke to those who did not vote for him. “To all of those who did not support us, hear me out. Take a measure of me and my heart. If you still disagree, so be it, that’s Democracy. That’s America,” said Biden. He finished his address to his non-supporters by saying, “This disagreement must not lead to disunion… I will fight just as hard for those who did not support me as much as those who did.
I will be a President for all Americans.”
FAU students witnessed the inauguration from their dorm rooms, many excited to witness this moment in history.
“I’m very happy that 45 is gone. I have hope and I feel like as a country we are on a better path because I felt that we were headed down a road of destruction,” said Ce’Coya Paulk, a senior at Florida Atlantic University.
Paulk was also impressed with Biden’s condemnation of the Capitol insurrectionist and his call for unity. “I like how he mentioned unity and that we can’t progress unless we work together,” said Paulk.
Now that the Inauguration is over, it is time for Biden’s administration to get to work.
Today, Chuck Schumer became the new Senate majority leader making both the House and Senate lean Democrat. This is expected to make Biden’s first 100 days in office easier as he attempts to put his policies in place.
“Hopefully the new President and Vice President can set us on a path of being more accepting, loving, and being there for each other even though we are different,” said Paulk.