Hail to the new chief.
Joe Biden has taken the oath of office as the 46th president of the United States, and the unprecedented inaugural ceremony saw reduced crowds and heightened security due to the dual threats of the pandemic and possible violence following the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
If you were unable to tune into the live broadcast, here are some of the most stirring speeches and performances that marked the inauguration of President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.
Past presidents and first ladies arrive — with some notable exceptions.
Former commander-in-chiefs arrived to honor the peaceful transition of power on Wednesday, including Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, as well as former first lady, presidential candidate and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and previous FLOTUSes Michelle Obama and Laura Bush.
Outgoing President Donald Trump became the first POTUS in over a century to snub his successor’s inauguration, however. He and first lady Melania Trump departed the White House earlier Wednesday morning, with Trump saying “We will be back in some form,” before boarding Air Force One for the last time at Joint Base Andrews. He added, “Have a good life,” on his way out.
Related:Trump Hints at Comeback as His Presidency Ends
Former President Jimmy Carter, 96, also missed the inauguration — the first time he hasn’t been at an inaugural event in 44 years. A spokesperson released a statement saying that Carter and his wife Rosalynn, 93, “will not travel to Washington for the inauguration but have sent their best wishes to President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris and look forward to a successful administration.”
Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden also made waves with their inaugural outfits. The former FLOTUS donned a plum Sergio Hudson suit, while the new FLOTUS wore a custom ocean blue Markarian matching coat and dress.
Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor swears in America’s first female vice president.
The first Hispanic and Latina member of the Supreme Court administered the oath of office to the country’s first Black, Asian and female Vice President on Wednesday.
In fact, Sotomayor, who grew up in the Bronx, New York, swore in Biden for his second term as vice president in 2013.
Harris used two Bibles: one belonging to family friend Regina Shelton, and one previously owned by the late Justice Thurgood Marshall, who was the first Black member of the Supreme Court.
Lady Gaga gives the mother of all national anthem performances.
In between the swearing-in of Harris and Biden, Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta — aka Lady Gaga — decided to go for the gold while belting the “Star-Spangled Banner.” As in, she grasped a gold microphone and sported an oversized gold dove brooch pinned to her Schiaparelli couture dress.
The ensemble drew comparisons to both “Game of Thrones” dragon queen Daenerys Targaryen and “The Hunger Games” escort Effie Trinket.
But her performance scored rave reviews.
Joe Biden takes the oath of office on his family’s 127-year-old Bible.
Biden, the country’s second Catholic president after John F. Kennedy, was sworn in by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts while placing his hand on a Bible that has been in his family since 1893.
The leather-bound book embossed with a Celtic cross on the cover is five inches thick, and Biden has used it each time he’s taken the oath of office throughout this political career. His late son, Beau, also placed his hand on this Bible when he was sworn in as Delaware’s attorney general.
“I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States,” Biden said.
Jennifer Lopez says “let’s get loud’ in a bilingual medley.
Adding to the NYC representation on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, Jenny from the Bronx sang both Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land” and “America the Beautiful” in a medley.
She also slipped into her own hit, “Let’s Get Loud,” and wrapped her performance up with a special message in Spanish: “One nation, with liberty and justice for all.”
Biden calls on America to come together and “end this uncivil war.”
The incoming president’s inaugural address preached healing and unity for a country that’s been ravaged by both a physical virus as well as political and ideological divides, and it came just two weeks after a violent pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol and interrupted the Congressional certification of Biden as the next commander-in-chief.
“Today we celebrate the triumph not of a candidate, but of a cause: the cause of democracy,” he said, adding: “To overcome these challenges, to restore the soul and secure the future of America requires so much more than words. It requires the most elusive of all things in a democracy: unity.”
Read more:Biden inaugural address calls for unity as he vows to rebuild economy and defeat coronavirus
But perhaps his most standout line, which picked up the most traction online: “We must end this uncivil war.”
Garth Brooks leads a singalong of “Amazing Grace.”
The country music icon followed Biden’s inaugural speech with an a cappella version of “Amazing Grace” — and he was reportedly a last-minute addition to the line up, at incoming first lady Biden’s request.
“This is not a political statement,” Brooks said in accepting the invite. “This is a statement of unity.”
And he invited the audience — both in-person in D.C., and watching from work or from home — to join him in singing the final verse.
Amanda Gorman, the nation’s youngest ever inaugural poet, reads knockout poem, “The Hill We Climb.”
The 22-year-old Harvard grad delivered a powerful rendition of a work she finished writing in the wee hours after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. Here is part of the poem; you can read all of it here.
“We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation rather than share it,
Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy.
And this effort very nearly succeeded.
But while democracy can be periodically delayed,
It can never be permanently defeated.
In this truth, in this faith, we trust.
For while we have our eyes on the future,
history has its eyes on us.”
Watch it here:
Something both Gorman and Biden have in common? They both had speech impediments when they were children.
And Gorman joins an elite roster of just a few inaugural poets, including Robert Frost and Maya Angelou. Her reading soon made her a national treasure online, thanks to now-iconic lines such as “There is always light, if only we are bold enough to see it, if only we are bold enough to be it,” as well as, “How could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?”