Biden sworn in as 46th president

Unprecedented inauguration fits unprecedented times

Inauguration streamed during computer science teacher Erik Amerikaner’s class. Students watch Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman recite her poem to the nation. (Mina Jung / Talon)

The year of 2021, following a year filled with unprecedented events, is also starting off with an inauguration unlike any other.

On Wednesday, Jan. 20, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were sworn in as the 46th president and vice president of the United States at the West Front of the Capitol. Biden also delivered his first presidential address at around noon ET.

For many, the inauguration was a historic moment that brought up different emotions and reactions. 

“The inauguration, for me, was a relief in itself. While I couldn’t vote, the knowledge and the hope of a competent president being sworn into power was great,” senior Galia Broussi Raich wrote to the Talon. “Also, having a female Vice President (and POC) was so inspiring to see as a young woman myself.”

Junior Anusha Rao also expressed her hope in the new presidency after witnessing the inauguration.

“I personally couldn’t stop thinking about all the positive changes Biden planned to make when he got into office,” Rao wrote to the Talon. “Especially regarding COVID, I couldn’t help but think about how many of us have failed to fathom the massive amounts of life that has been lost. Just a simple mask mandate made me feel optimistic about the management of this disease and that we may someday return to normal.”

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, attendees were socially distanced and mandated to wear masks. Additionally, the number of people who were invited was drastically reduced, a decision made by the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies.

Extra precautions were taken after pro-Trump supporters rioted at the Capitol. According to NBC, over 25,000 National Guard members were called for security.

Most of Congress and the Supreme Court attended the inauguration, as well as some former Presidents including Barack Obama and Bill Clinton and former first ladies such as Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton. Former President Donald Trump, however, was absent.

Other highlighted guests for the program included Rev. Leo J. O’Donovan, firefighter Andrea Hall, Lady Gaga, Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman and more. The program was a medley of invocations, speeches and performances, as well as the Pledge of Allegiance and national anthem.

One performance that stood out in particular, according to Rao, was Gorman’s recitation of her poem “The Hill We Climb.” 

“I thought Amanda Gorman was an amazing speaker because her poem was written so beautifully and her speaking just further emphasized the meaning behind each phrase,” Rao wrote. 

Others, however, viewed some of the performances, guest appearances and overall inauguration procedures in a more comical approach.

“The extra security measures and the Capitol speech scene made it look like the Hunger Games,” junior Kevin Ma wrote to the Talon.

The grand finale was the “Celebrating America” TV event, aired at 8:30 p.m. ET. The event included more featured guests — such as Bruce Springsteen, Justin Timberlake, Demi Lovato and more — with Tom Hanks as the host. 

As Inauguration Day came to a close, some people believed that a new era for America would begin.

“I hope the inauguration is just the start of a productive and progressive four years,” Broussi Raich wrote.