The Daily Illini recaps presidential inauguration


Photo Courtesy of Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times/TNS

President Joe Biden takes the oath of office from Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts as his wife, First Lady Jill Biden, stands next to him during the 59th presidential inauguration in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday.

By Chieh Hsu, Staff Writer

On Wednesday, Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States. His election partner, Kamala Harris, was sworn in as the 49th vice president.

Here are the highlight moments of the ceremony: 

  • Former President Trump and former first lady Melania Trump headed to Florida
  • Joe Biden and Kamala Harris attended mass at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle 
  • Acting deputy Senate sergeant-at-arms Eugene Goodman, famous for responding to the capitol riot, escorted Kamala Harris
  • Lady Gaga sang “The Star-Spangled Banner”
  • Kamala Harris was sworn in by Justice Sonia Sotomayor
  • Jennifer Lopez sang “This Land is Your Land” and “America the Beautiful”
  • Joe Biden was sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts
  • National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman recites “The Hill We Climb”

Here is a more in-depth description of the events: 

During the Jan. 6 siege of the capitol, Capitol Policeman Eugene Goodman attracted rioters from the entrance of the Senate Chamber to a hall with police reinforcements, which bought time for the Senators to evacuate. 

Goodman’s actions earned him the title of Hero of the Capitol Riot, and he was promoted to the acting deputy Senate sergeant-at-arms shortly after. Bipartisan lawmakers also introduced legislation that would award Goodman the Congressional Gold Medal. 

Kamala Harris is the first female Vice President of the United States. Owing to her Indian and Jamaican heritage, she is also the first Asian and Black Vice President in U.S. history. 

On her way to the stage, Harris fist-bumped Barack Obama and Michelle Obama. The trio made up the first Black president, first lady and vice president. 

Harris was sworn in by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the nation’s first Hispanic and Latina Justice. Harris swore on two Bibles, one which belonged to the late Justice Thurgood Marshall, who helped inspired her career path, and one of family friend Regina Shelton, whom Harris recognizes as a “second mother.”

Joe Biden used the same family Bible that he used twice when sworn in as the vice president and seven times as Senator of Delaware.

In his speech, President Joe Biden chose to highlight the aspect of division in the country.

“I will be a president for all Americans,” he said. “All Americans. And I promise you I will fight as hard for those who did not support me as for those who did.”

At the end of the ceremony, Amanda Gorman, the country’s first-ever National Youth Poet Laureate, addressed the nation with her poem “The Hill We Climb,” calling Americans to rebuild, recover and reconcile. 

“Inaugurations signal a tradition of a peaceful transfer of power,” former President Barack Obama said. 

Although Donald Trump broke the long-standing tradition by not attending his successor’s inauguration, the day was still composedly concluded in Gorman’s powerful words “For there is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it.”


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