Biden/Harris 2021 Inauguration Promotes Unity

January 20, 2021 marks a historic moment working towards a better future


Courtesy of Wikimedia

Kylee Danks, News Writer

Inauguration week started off with Martin Luther King Jr. Day, reminding America and the world of the importance of non-violent activism and striving for a more just society. These sentiments were especially relevant to events leading up to the Biden/Harris inauguration. The people of the United States elected Joseph R. Biden to be the 46th President back in November 2020 and the results were confirmed on January 6, 2021, by the House and Senate. Before the confirmation, however; mob of domestic extremists stormed the U.S. Capitol. Their coup attempt was eventually stopped but it resulted in five people being killed. Additionally, there were injuries, evacuations needed to take place, parts of the Capitol were vandalized, and faith in democracy around the globe was shaken. Fourteen days after this insurrectionwith heightened security, successful and peaceful transfer of power was able to take place on Wednesday, January 20, 2021.  

The inauguration began with the arrival of all living former presidents, except Donald Trump and Jimmy Carter. Lady Gaga, who was among the openers for the ceremony, sang the National Anthem followed by Jennifer Lopez singing “This Land is Our Land” and “America, The Beautiful”. Shortly after these performances, Kamala Harris was sworn in as the 49th vice president of the United States. She is the first female vice president, first African American vice president, first Asian American vice president, and the highest-ranking female elected official in U.S. history. After Harris, Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States.  

Growing division over the last four years has cut deep wounds in United States democracyBiden/Harris campaigned with a strong focus on unity over this division. That focus was reiterated during Biden’s inaugural speech when he pledged to be a president for all Americans, stating, “I will fight as hard for those who did not support me as for those who did”. The 46th President went on to call all Americans to “defend the truth and defeat the lies,” and for the nation to come together and “end this uncivil war…” He then addressed other nations, stressing that America will repair alliances, look to the future, and “lead, not merely by the example of our power, but by the power of our example.” In his first act as President Biden wanted to hold “a moment of silent prayer to remember all of those we lost this past year to the pandemic.” COVID-19 has killed 2,073,948 people worldwide as of January 20, 2021. 4,367 people in the U.S. died of the virus on Inauguration Day, bringing the total COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. to 406,190. Biden ended his speech with, “May God bless America and may God protect our troops. Thank you, America.” A transcript of Biden’s inaugural speech can be found in this New York Times article.  

After Biden’s speech, Garth Brooks sang “Amazing Grace” followed by the youngest inaugural poet ever, 22-year-old Amanda Gordan, who read her poem “The Hill We Climb. Her poem addressed the violence at the U.S. Capitol two weeks prior and matched Biden’s call for unity and striving for a better future, stating “…We are striving to forge a union with purpose / To compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and conditions of man / And so we lift our gazes not to what stands between us / but what stands before us / We close the divide because we know, to put our future first, / we must first put our differences aside…” Gordan ended her poem with a positive and encouraging note, “…For there is always light, / if only we’re brave enough to see it / If only we’re brave enough to be it.” A transcript of Gordan’s entire inaugural poem can be found here. 

Gordan was followed by Rev. Silvester Beaman, who delivered the benediction that concluded the 59th inauguration ceremony, “This is our country. As such, teach us, oh God…to live in it, love in it, be healed in it, and reconcile to one another in it. As the inauguration ended, the color guard retired the national colors as “Stars and Stripes Forever” playedPresident Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris waved to the peopleushering in a new era of justice and unity for all. As they turned to leave the stage, an MSNBC reporter exclaimed over TV broadcast, “It’s over It’s over.” Vice president Harris and her husband, Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff, proceeded to escort the Former VP Mike Pence and his wife Karen out of the U.S. Capitol 

For North Dakotans, the Biden/Harris administration is expected to have a positive impact in healthcare expansion for rural communities and rebuilding markets and trade relations in agriculture. Kylie Oversen, a former UND student body president who became youngest state party chair in the U.S. in 2015, is Chair of the North Dakota Democratic-Nonpartisan League Party and has met President Biden on two previous occasions. Over email on Wednesday evening she commented on his 2021 inauguration, I was very heartened by President Biden’s speech today. It struck the right tone of compassion and commitment to bringing our country back together. I especially appreciated the line, “we must end this uncivil war that pits red against blue, rural versus urban, conservative versus liberal.” There has been a lot of division and anger the last four years and I think Biden is the right person to help us heal those wounds. Biden, more than anything, really conveyed the values he holds and how he will lead our country. 

The future of North Dakota under the Biden/Harris administration looks bright to Oversen, I am hopeful that the Biden/Harris administration will be really positive for North Dakota, especially for our farm families and rural communities. These communities were hit hard by the neverending trade war over the past few years and we need leaders who are now ready to rebuild markets and rebuild trust. I think we also need to see a more robust and thoughtful approach to addressing the rural healthcare shortages and the Biden/Harris administration, in my perspective, is well equipped to do that.” Oversen also stated that Biden/Harris have both have experience in Congress that will be beneficial in how they approach making positive change for the country,” and,  “…will restore the trust and confidence of our allies around the worldthat is very important to our national and international security.” Lastly, Oversen made a point to comment on the history made a Wednesday’s inauguration, “it was remarkable to finally see a woman (especially a woman of color) be sworn into the White House. That is a moment we need to underscore, as it really does create new opportunities and dreams for young people everywhere .” 

CBS News writer, Bo Erickson, wrote an article detailing what actions Biden has promised to take during his first 100 days in office, including executive orders expected to be enacted on day one of his presidency. These executive orders will address COVID-19 response, immigration, climate change, transgender rights, and environmental conservation. To learn more about what the Biden administration’s first steps will be visit A timeline of the 2021 Biden/Harris Inauguration can be found here. To watch a recording of the inauguration ceremony click here 


Kylee Danks is a Dakota Student News Writer. She can be reached at [email protected]