Inauguration Day 2021 brings historic moments


Glyn Lowe via Wikimedia Commons

Jill and Joe Biden are seen at the 2013 Presidential Inauguration of Barack Obama.

“This is America’s day. This is democracy’s day. A day of history and hope. Of renewal and resolve,” President Joseph R. Biden stated to open his inaugural address to the American people. 

While many MCHS students attended their second day of hybrid learning during second semester, the historic Presidential Inauguration took place on Wednesday, Jan. 20. 

The day started off with the send-off ceremony of now former President Donald J. Trump; he was the first president since 1921, not including presidents who had died while in power, to not attend his successor’s inauguration.

The inauguration ceremony itself went without an actual audience of supporters because of extreme security measures following the Capitol siege and from the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead they placed 200,000 American flags as a representation of people from each state in the National Mall. 

In actual attendance though were Congressional leaders such as Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell, Majority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer, former Vice President Mike Pence, and other senators and representatives from both parties. Three of the former presidents attended (Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama) with Jimmy Carter opting out for the safety of his health. 

Every attendee at the inauguration ceremony was required to wear a mask and to test negative for COVID-19 before attending.

The insurrection of the Capitol that took place two weeks exactly prior to the inauguration had a major influence on the event; specifically the call for unity as a country was the main theme of the entire ceremony. 

Lady Gaga, who delivered a powerful rendition of the National Anthem at the start of the inauguration, wore a large dove with an olive branch broach that spawned memes comparing it to The Hunger Games mockingjay pin. “May we all make peace with each other,” she stated on Twitter following her performance. 

Other musical acts included entertainers Jennifer Lopez and Garth Brooks. Jennifer Lopez performed a medley of different patriotic songs and Garth Brooks performed “Amazing Grace.”

“We must end this uncivil war that pits red against blue, rural versus urban, conservative versus liberal,” stated Biden in his inaugural address, “Every disagreement doesn’t have to be a cause for total war.”

Biden solidified one of his main goals that he has called for the past three months, the unification for the country and the “battle for the soul of the nation.” 

“The inauguration was a pleasant change after the past four years; this was the first sense of optimism in a long time,” said Alyson Colwell, senior. 

Arguably one of the most historic moments of the inauguration ceremony was when now Vice President Kamala Harris took the oath of office. It certified her as the first woman, the first African American, the first person of southeast Asian descent as Vice President of the United States. 

Amanda Gorman, the 22-year-old breakout star of the event, became the youngest person to deliver a poem at the Presidential inauguration, following the swearing in of Biden and Harris. 

Mr. Andres Torres, MCHS English teacher, explained how he was “shocked” at the young poet’s power in her words, being on par with widely known political figures who are, at least, double her age. 

“We will not march back to what was. But move to what shall be: a country that is bruised but whole, benevolent but bold, fierce and free,” Gorman said in a line taken from her poem, The Hill We Climb.

Following the inauguration, Biden and Harris both went to a wreath laying-ceremony at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Ceremony, which was followed by a parade that included bands, musical talent, and well known names from every state in the country. 

Along with the typical inaugural events, Biden signed 17 executive orders into law within hours of becoming president that reversed many of the Trump administration’s policies. 

He rejoined the Paris Climate Accord and removed the construction permit for the Keystone XL oil pipeline. This stops the building of the pipeline that caused controversy for crossing over Native American lands and its impact on climate change.

Biden also removed the controversial Transgender Military Ban and Muslim Travel Ban by the Trump administration.

He also signed a national mask mandate on federal property as the start of his response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

Another important executive order was officially suspending the construction of the U.S.-Mexico border wall.

“While this is only the start, these starting changes made me cautiously hopeful for the future,” said Caroline Garner, senior. 

These executive orders were instituted to “dismantle Trump administration policies his aides said have caused the ‘greatest damage’ to the nation,” according to The New York Times.

The day that was awaited by many in this country for the past four years ended with a televised concert called “Celebrating America” which featured performances and speeches from many notable stars and politicians. 

The three former presidents — Clinton, Bush, and Obama — all had a recorded discussion together discussing the importance of unity and wishing Biden luck. 

A gigantic firework display over the Washington Monument with singer Katy Perry singing her notable song “Firework” alongside closed out the Inauguration day. 

While Biden has inherited problems of deep political division, racial and civil inequality, climate change, and the COVID-19 pandemic, as he said to the nation, “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.”