Skyler Leathrum, Correspondent
On Jan. 20, Joe Biden was inaugurated as President of the United States. Kamala Harris, the first female, Asian and African American to serve as vice president, was also sworn in.
Both Harris and Biden were sworn in front of Capitol Hill in front of multiple members of Congress and the Supreme Court.
“Few people in our nation’s history have been more challenged or found a time more challenging or difficult than the time we’re in now.” said Biden in his first address to the nation as president, “And so today at this time in this place, let’s start afresh, all of us. Let’s begin to listen to one another again. Hear one another, see one another, show respect to one another. Politics doesn’t have to be a raging fire, destroying everything in its path.”
The inaugural ceremony looked much different than most inaugurations for multiple reasons.
The biggest contributing factor being the COVID-19 virus which has shaped our lives for the past year. Social distancing and mask measures were implemented at the inauguration to prevent the spread of the virus.
Due to the Capitol riots at the Jan. 6 election certification, extra security measures were put in place ahead of the inauguration to protect Biden and those in attendance. These measures included 25,000 national guard members in the Capitol including some from Alabama, according to ABC 33/40.
A “green zone” of safety was placed by the Secret Service in which it was safe for Biden to travel.
To honor those unable to make it to the inauguration, a field of nearly 200,000 flags was placed on the National Mall. These represented U.S. citizens unable to attend due to COVID-19 and security concerns.
After electing to not attend the inauguration, former president Donald Trump’s farewell was held on Wednesday morning before the event. Trump boarded Air Force One and departed the White House for the last time as president, on his way to Maryland to hold a farewell rally. From there, he and first lady Melania Trump traveled to their residence in Palm Beach, Fla.
“As I conclude my term as the 45th President of the United States, I stand before you truly proud of what we have achieved together. We did what we came here to do, and so much more. ” said Trump, “This week we inaugurate a new administration and pray for its success in keeping America safe and prosperous. We extend our best wishes, and we also want them to have luck, a very important word.”
Another former president who elected not to attend was Jimmy Carter, citing health concerns. Former presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama were in attendance, as well as former Vice President Mice Pence.
Biden and Harris’s term expires in 2024, barring reelection in the 2024 election. Biden has said in his first days he will pass orders to help respond to the COVID-19 virus. This includes a mask mandate on federal property for at least the first 100 days of the Biden administration.