Thoughts from the Inauguration
Many different moments inspired me during the inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. I’m not sure I could choose only one to share.
Vice President Harris was sworn in by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who is the first Hispanic member of the Supreme Court. Vice President Harris is the first woman, the first African American woman, and the first person of South Asian descent to hold a national office. It was an inspiring moment to witness history being made.
President Biden took his oath of office from Chief Justice John Roberts, with the Bible that has been in the Biden family since 1893—and that was first used when he was sworn in as a young senator from Delaware in 1973.
In President Biden’s inaugural address, he focused on themes of unity and called on all of us to unite to face the challenges of the pandemic, racial injustice and economic uncertainty.
On Wednesday evening, near the steps of the Lincoln Monument, the Vice President addressed the nation for the first time. She called on each one of us to have “the courage to see beyond crisis, to do what is hard, to do what is good, to unite, to believe in ourselves, believe in our country, believe in what we can do together.”
One of the most inspiring aspects of the inauguration is the display of 400 lights around the Lincoln Memorial's reflecting pool, which were lit Tuesday evening to honor the 400,000 people in the United States who have died from COVID-19. I believe we can see in these lights a reminder of the seriousness of the pandemic and the devastating impact it has had on so many.
The words of youth poet laureate Amanda Gorman gave voice to the hopes that all of us have for our future together. Gorman is the youngest person to ever speak during an inauguration. In the poem written expressly for the inauguration, she sets out the task that confronts each of us:
We will rebuild, reconcile and recover
and every known nook of our nation and
every corner called our country,
our people diverse and beautiful will emerge,
battered and beautiful
When day comes we step out of the shade,
aflame and unafraid
The new dawn blooms as we free it
For there is always light,
if only we’re brave enough to see it
If only we’re brave enough to be it.
I agree that there is always light and hope. I am praying for our country and for all who have been called to lead it.