It was magnificent. (My two cents!) If you didn’t catch it live, you may be able to see a recording via The Inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris website. The website lists other channels for viewing also, and I’m sure a recording will be available soon if it isn’t already.
Fittingly, President Biden’s inaugural address focused on coming together, building unity; repairing our national divisions.
There were songs: National Anthem sung by Lady Gaga. “America the Beautiful” and “My Country Tis of Thee” sung by Jennifer Lopez. “Amazing Grace” sung by Garth Brooks.
There were plenty of firsts.
Kamala Harris is our first Black, first Asian-American, and first female Vice President. And first HBCU grad in the White House!
There was deeply stirring spoken-word poetry, “The Hill We Climb,” by Amanda Gorman, a Black poet and activist who is this country’s first-ever National Youth Poet Laureate.
And this was probably the first inaugural ceremony that most people who might’ve wanted to attend in person, were unable to do so because of restrictions in place to forestall violent protests. (Not to mention that many surely stayed home because of the pandemic.)
This was the first inaugural ceremony I have ever watched from beginning to end. I stood and sang along with the anthem; spoke the Pledge of Allegiance with hand over my heart and tears in my eyes. (Which might have looked a bit goofy since I was standing alone on the beach at the time, pointing my face north toward DC as the appointed hour 11:30 arrived while I was on my way home from a walk with new acquaintances — but who cares!)
It was not only a patriotic moment but a DEEP GREEN moment too. Armchair travel, ultra-low-footprint, via my tiny portable TV screen window to the universe AKA my phone! (A very “Meet George Jetson” moment too, I might add on that score. Growing up in the 60s and 70s, we had futuristic dreams of TV phones, mini TVs, and other such technological marvels but who knew how totally they would manifest; how widespread and commonplace our tiny telecommunications devices would become!)
Thanks to online broadcasting, coupled with the crazy events of preceding weeks and months, I would be willing to bet that more people around the country and the world were both able and eager to watch this inaugural ceremony than any previous one. And we all got front-row seats without having to leave our homes. This was a great time for armchair travel to Washington DC!
Here is the transcript, annotated, of President Biden’s inaugural speech (Washington Post).
Green hearts: The Biden White House is taking big, swift action on climate; read about it here.