Inauguration of President Joseph R. Biden, Jr.

President Joe Biden swears the oath of office at the Inauguration ceremony next to first lady, Jill Biden.

On January 20, 2021, Joseph R. Biden was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States. He became the oldest person to ever hold the office at 78 years old. Kamala Harris was sworn in as Vice President of the United States. She became the first woman, first African American, and first Asian American to hold that office.

The inauguration ceremony traditionally takes place on the steps of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. This year was no different except for a few major omissions. Because the world is in the midst of the global Covid-19 pandemic, the number of people who could attend the inauguration in person was severely limited. In the past, hundreds of thousands of Americans crowded the National Mall on Inauguration Day. This year, only a few hundred people were in attendance so that they could spread out to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Amanda Gorman speaking into microphones at a podium.

Inaugural poet Amanda Gorman at the inauguration ceremony.

Instead, the 2021 inauguration was largely virtual. About 200,000 American flags were placed on the lawn of the National Mall to represent all of the Americans who wanted to be there but could not attend. Additionally, 400 lanterns were placed along the Lincoln Memorial’s reflecting pool to honor the more than 400,000 Americans who have died from Covid-19. Lady Gaga sang the National Anthem, and the first ever youth poet laureate of the United States, Amanda Gorman, delivered a powerful poem on unity and the power of words.

In his inauguration speech, President Joe Biden called for unity among all Americans. He pointed out the crisis of misinformation as a major threat dividing our country. Biden also outlined the four major crises—the Covid-19 pandemic, the failing economy, climate change, and racial justice—that his administration will need to tackle in the first year.

The group waves to the crowd.

From left to right: Doug Emhoff, Vice President Harris’ husband, Vice President Kamala Harris, First Lady Jill Biden, President Joe Biden 

Image credits: © mccv/Shutterstock

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