Compiled by F. R. Edwards -On Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States. His running mate, Kamala Harris, was sworn in as the 49th vice president, and is the first woman, first African American and first Asian American to hold the office.
The inauguration was held at the U.S. Capitol. This was also, just two weeks earlier, the scene of an insurrection by militant supporters of outgoing president Trump that destroyed historical and personal property and left five persons dead, including Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick.
Wednesday’s events evoked a variety of emotions from participators, attendees, as well as millions of viewers as Kamala Harris was sworn in on two Bibles — one that belonged to former Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, one of her heroes who inspired her to pursue a career in the law. The next bible belonged to Regina Shelton, a neighbor who cared for Harris and her sister Maya when they were growing up and attended church with her, where she was introduced to the teachings of the Bible. Harris has described Shelton as a “second mother to us.”
Harris is the first Black woman and South Asian American to be elected vice president in the U.S. Harris, a graduate of Howard University, is the daughter of Jamaican and Indian immigrants. Vice President Harris was sworn in by Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor.
Joe Biden, as he was sworn in, had his hand on the Biden family Bible, which has a Celtic Cross on the cover and has been a family heirloom since 1893. The President-elect has used the Bible each time he has taken an oath of office, both as a senator from Delaware and as vice president, and his son Beau Biden used the Bible when he was sworn in as attorney general of Delaware in 2007.
“Today we celebrate the triumph, not of a candidate, but of a cause, the cause of democracy,” Biden said in his inauguration speech after being sworn in by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts. “The people, the will of the people, has been heard, and the will of the people has been heeded.”
Top quotes from Joe Biden’s first speech as US President:
- We will be a strong and trusted partner for peace, progress, and security.
- We will repair our alliances and engage once again, not to meet yesterday’s challenges but today’s and tomorrow’s challenges.
- We will lead not merely by example of our power but the power of our example.
- I will be president for all Americans.
- Today, on this January day, my whole soul is in this: bringing America together, uniting our people, uniting our nation.
- I will defend the Constitution, our democracy, America and I will keep everything I do in your service, thinking not of power but of possibilities, not of personal interests but of public good.
- White supremacy, domestic terrorism we will defeat. I want every American to join me in this cause.
- The will of the people has been heard and the will of the people has been heeded.
- Our history has been a constant struggle between American ideal that we are all created equal and harsh ugly reality that racism, nativism, fear, demonization have long torn us apart.
- America has been tested anew, and America has risen to the challenge.
- Today we celebrate a triumph not of a candidate but of a cause, a cause of democracy.
- This is America’s Day. This is democracy’s day. A day of history and hope.
We have learned again that democracy is precious, democracy is fragile and at this hour, my friends, democracy has prevailed.