Inauguration Day: A New Beginning

Annie Hu

As Green Hope students began their first day of Second semester virtually on January 20, 2021, a new president and vice president were sworn in. It was a historical day as Joseph R. Biden was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States at the very capital that was under siege from rioters exactly two weeks before. Eugene Goodman, a Capitol police officer that emerged a hero from the capitol riots, escorted the vice president-elect to the ceremony and will be awarded the Congressional Gold Medal. Kamala Harris made even bigger history as the first Black, first South Asian, and first woman to be sworn in as the Vice President of the United States. Although Inauguration Day is usually a celebration with large crowds across the National Mall, there were instead over 200,000 flags to represent the Americans who could not attend the ceremony due to the pandemic. 

The absence of crowds still could not mask the sense of excitement among the small crowd gathered at the ceremony, which included former Presidents and First Ladies. President Trump, however, refused to attend and instead gave a small speech at a military base before departing the White House for the last time. Before wishing the new administration good luck, Trump pardoned 73 people, including rapper Lil Wayne and his former chief strategist Steve Bannon, as his final presidential order. Although Trump was the first president to refuse to attend his successor’s ceremony in 152 years, Vice President Mike Pence was present at the ceremony, honoring American traditions over bipartisan politics. 

In his inaugural address, President Biden placed a strong emphasis on unity and unison for the country moving forward while tackling serious problems like the COVID pandemic and systemic racism. President Biden drove home the message of unity by saying: “Yet hear me clearly: Disagreement must not lead to disunion. And I pledge this to you: I will be a president for all Americans. All Americans. And I promise you I will fight as hard for those who did not support me as for those who did.” Biden also took a moment to acknowledge the 400,000 COVID deaths in the US in his speech and immediately took action by signing 10 executive orders to combat the pandemic, something the previous administration lacked. 

Green Hope students also agreed that this inauguration brought a sense of relief with a new administration as senior Nasir Braswell said: “I’m just glad we’re done with Trump’s nonsense. Colin Briggs, another senior, said, “I’m excited and happy about the new president.” 

After a very polarizing election cycle and an ongoing pandemic, Inauguration Day was a breath of fresh air for American politics as the themes of unity and hope were highlighted for this new beginning.