JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., 46TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
The long-anticipated day of inauguration for the now President Joe Biden has finally arrived. Although the American people have diversified reactions towards the end of former-president Donald Trump’s term, a majority are ready to accept the results of the 2020 election and welcome President Biden into office.
Unfortunately, compared to past ceremonies, this year citizens were unable to attend this inauguration and socially-distanced seats were provided for those invited or with tickets. A major reason for the lack of attendance was due to policies imposed to protect attendees from COVID-19, however, a militia defense of the capital was enforced due to a recent Trump-rally turned riot that shocked millions.
Thankfully–despite an unexpected and unprepared-for moment of snow that fell even with all the precautions taken by capitol committees and White House staff–Biden’s Inauguration Day ran more smoothly than previous events that transpired earlier this month.
TRUMP LEAVING THE WHITE HOUSE FOR THE LAST TIME
Unlike most Presidents on Inauguration Day, Trump left the White House early in the morning to give his farewell address instead of staying in the capital to honor Biden with a peaceful transition. Like all Presidents in their final hours, he flew the Air Force 1 to Base Andrews in Maryland and later to Palm Beach County, Florida.
Among other traditions discarded during this Inauguration Day was the Honorary Departure, a tradition that began in the early 1800s with incoming President Martin Van Buren and outgoing President Andrew Jackson in a horse-drawn carriage. During this event, the former president rides with the new standing president to the White House on the morning of Inauguration Day. It is disappointing to end the streak of a memory that showed kindness and grace.
Previous First Lady Melania Trump also refused, prior to Inauguration Day, to meet with current First Lady Jill Biden to give her a proper tour of the White House. It seems as if the Trump Administration will end as it began, breaking long-standing customs in government.
THE CONTINUATION OF TRADITIONS
Fortunately, former-president Trump did leave President Biden a letter, a tradition long held since our 41st President George Bush, signifying a moment of courtesy and wishing one prosperity despite political parties, the differing of opinions, or past disputes.
Unlike Trump, former Vice President Pence and his wife Karen Pence did attend the inauguration ceremony and welcomed Vice President Harris, our country’s first female, black, and Asian-American vice president, to the White House.
Another tradition upheld was the custom of attending church, or another religious service, before the official ceremony. As Biden is the second catholic president of our country, he attended St. Matthew the Apostle before his inauguration.
Gratefully, it seems as if Biden is more conventional when it comes to customs and procedures of our nation’s president, making him an easier Chief of State to follow than Trump.
THE INAUGURATION CEREMONY AND SIGNING
After numerous individuals spoke in support of the future of Biden’s presidential term, a beautiful mashup production of classic patriotic melodies sung by Jennifer Lopez, the completion of the pledge of allegiance by Fire Captain Andrea Hall, and a riveting performance of the National Anthem by Lady Gaga, Biden took his sacred oath and was sworn into office by Chief Justice John Roberts. This was followed by President Biden’s inauguration speech, marking his first speech as Head of State, on which he spoke of refining ourselves together, as a population, after the past year of both challenging and social awakening events to “secure the future of America”.
After the ceremony, Biden signed three documents in the President’s Room at the capital including the Inauguration Day Proclamation, his nominations to Cabinet positions, and finally his nominations to sub-Cabinet positions. With the ratifying of these documents, Biden officially secured his position as President of the United States.
Overall, the ceremony on January 20th was a peaceful and beautiful transition into a more traditional ceremony, despite the many traditions broken throughout the day. Here’s to hoping that Biden’s next four years will actually be focused on the healing, growing, and forming of “a more perfect union.”