President Biden Calls for Unity in Inaugural Address


From left, Doug Emhoff, Kamala Harris, Jill Biden and Joe Biden arrive at the U.S. Capitol. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

By Lena Tinker, News Editor

At 8:48 AM, President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. was sworn in as President of the United States of America. 

“Americans have celebrated this moment during war, during depression, and now during pandemic,” said Missouri Senator Roy Blunt, speaking of the historic transition of power on inauguration day. 

Gathered outside the Capitol on this snowy morning, almost to the minute that domestic terrorists stormed the Capitol in insurrection on Jan. 6, people of all political parties seemed to assure the American people that unity was once again possible. 

“Today, on this January day, my whole soul is in this: bringing America together, uniting our people, uniting our nation. And I ask every American to join me in this cause,” said President Biden in his inaugural address, hitting on the principal theme of today’s inauguration ceremonies. 

“Together we shall write an American story of hope, not fear. Of unity, not division. Of light, not darkness. A story of decency and dignity, love and healing, greatness and goodness,” he later stated. 

Kamala Harris, the first Black American and person of South Asian descent to become Vice President, is also the first woman to ever fill this position. Sworn in by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the first Hispanic and Latina member of the Supreme Court, Harris took an oath to serve the people of the United States alongside her husband and family. 

The events of inauguration morning were packed with A-list guests. Lady Gaga appeared to sing the National Anthem, Jennifer Lopez to sing “This Land is Your Land,” and Garth Brooks to sing “Amazing Grace.”

The youngest ever inaugural poet, Amanda Gorman, recited her poem “The Hill We Climb,” her lyrical words echoing across the audience gathered at the Capitol. ABC News reports that her words were written in response to the Capitol insurrection, with an intent to spread a message of unity.

In her poem, Gorman says, “And so we lift our gazes not to what stands between us, but what stands before us. We close the divide because we know to put our future first we must first put our differences aside. We lay down our arms so we can reach out our arms to one another. We seek harm to none and harmony for all.” 

She ended on this note, to wide applause, “The new dawn blooms as we free it. For there was always light if only we’re brave enough to see it, if only we’re brave enough to be it.”

  The themes of democracy and of unity pervaded this historic morning. In his near 20 minute address, President Biden called out the rise of domestic terrorism and white supremacy before ensuring Americans that, “The dream of justice for all will be deferred no longer.”

President Biden paused during his address, asking those around him to take a moment of silence to pray for the families of the 400,000 Americans who have died of the coronavirus over the past year. “This is our historic moment of crisis and challenge, and unity is the path forward. And we must meet this moment as the United States of America. If we do that, I guarantee you, we will not fail,” President Biden stated.

Biden opened, and I close, with this, “Today, we celebrate the triumph not of a candidate, but of a cause. The cause of democracy.”