Nearly two months ago, a new era of hope was reinstated during the 46th presidential inauguration bridging the divide between people of the nation. Throughout the entirety of the ceremony, there were several moments of empowerment that transpired across the country. As Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were sworn into office, they put on the map many notable historic firsts that were highlighted in the inauguration.
While progress has been made over the course of these past two months, it is first important to note the wave of uncertainty and bitterness the country faced in the last few months leading up to the inauguration. A dominating pandemic and determined riots made for uneasy times.
Despite these unsettling feelings of worry and caution, a new message of faith and virtue became prevalent in many speeches. With that said, a growing theme of unity came to light. This motif was translated through the action of honoring the COVID-19 victims in a moment of silence and holding a memorial service later that night.
Such a tribute marked a needed period of healing.
CBS News articulated this idea in their article, Biden’s Inauguration to Feature Nationwide Tribute to Honor COVID-19 Victims. A comment from PIC Communications Director Pili Tobar was included that summarized the intentions within the inauguration. “…it is important that we honor those who have died, reflect on what has been one of the more challenging periods in the nation’s history, and renew our commitment to coming together to end the pandemic and rebuild our nation,” Tobar said.
These similar ideas even translated into Amanda Gorman’s poem, The Hill We Climb. Her words seemed to evoke fierce emotion and truth of reconciliation while speaking to the core of the nation. The seventeen dynamic stanzas composed glimpses of racial unrest and uprisings that are sewn in America’s history. The Washington Post addressed Gordon’s poem by saying, “It was a strange contrast to perhaps the most famous and beloved inaugural of modern American history, John F. Kennedy’s, 60 years ago. Then, an old poet recited verses to a young president. Now, a young poet recited verses to an old one.” Young voices hold the dream and future of America that all generations can learn from.
Unity was also emphasized by the color purple that several attendees wore including Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama, and Vice President Kamala Harris. There’s a long history of symbolism correlated with this vibrant shade ranging from royalty to the Purple Heart, however, the meaning was much simpler. It demonstrated the blending of blue and red; Democrat and Republican. Jessica Iredale stated in her article, The Deep Meaning of the Color Purple at the Biden Inauguration, “…gestures have the potential to take on great meaning. Seeing a few flashes of purple on Wednesday morning was much different than the wave of red hats that dominated the National Mall four years ago.” In the past few years, the disparity between the two has only become more apparent. Sides should dismiss the idea of the other being the enemy, otherwise the country remains stagnant and unable to truly move forward. Politics often promote a barrier between parties, yet purple resembles a bridge, or in other words, a middle ground to make progress.
While watching the inauguration, several people were deeply moved by the message of hope and peace. Among those individuals was UNCG junior, Bailey McDuffie. “Even without the flashy crowd and traditions that come along with a “regular” inauguration ceremony, it felt as if we all were there…I felt like a weight had been lifted and for a day I could finally let out a sigh of relief,” said Bailey. These last months have shown promise, but there is still progress that needs to be made. Bailey elaborated, “I think it’s our job to hold Biden and others accountable for their actions and how it will affect the future for this country.”
Perhaps the inauguration will serve as a stepping stone to a greater future in which everyone has a part.