By JULIA JACOBO, ABC News
(WASHINGTON) — The ceremony that made Joe Biden as the 46th president of the United States was an inauguration like never before.
Wednesday marked the first time in more than 150 years that a sitting president didn’t attend the swearing in of his successor. Also absent were the morning traditions involving the outgoing and incoming presidents and their spouses meeting on the North Portico of the White House and sharing a limousine to the ceremony.
And for the first time in history, inauguration attendees, including lawmakers and former Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, were forced to wear masks due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has now taken the lives of more than 400,000 Americans. Two weeks after an angry mob of pro-Trump rioters stormed Capitol Hill, some attendees even wore body armor.
Here are more key moments from Inauguration Day:
Trump leaves the White House for the last time
Donald Trump didn’t invite Biden to the White House prior to the inauguration ceremony.
The embattled president left the White House for the last time Wednesday morning alongside outgoing first lady Melania Trump.
Trump’s family applauded as he boarded Air Force One for the last time. He flew to Palm Beach International Airport, where his supporters lined the streets in a show of support as he made his way toward Mar-a-Lago.
The 45th president did leave a note for the 46th, despite speculation that he may forgo that tradition as well.
Biden, Kamala Harris sworn in
Harris, the first woman and person of color to ever hold the office of vice president, was sworn in by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina member of the Supreme Court.
Chief Justice John Roberts later administered the presidential oath to Biden as Jill Biden held the bible and as his children, Hunter Biden and Ashley Biden, stood by.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar then introduced Biden for the first time as president.
In his inaugural address, Biden spoke about the “cause of democracy.”
“We’ve learned again that democracy is precious. Democracy is fragile,” he said. “And at this hour, my friend, democracy has prevailed.”
Biden discussed his hope for uniting a divided country.
“Every disagreement doesn’t have to be the cause for a total war,” he said, later stating that he would be a president of “all Americans” and would fight “just as hard” for people who did not support him.
Celebrity guests showed their support
Lady Gaga, equipped with a giant dove brooch and microphone, both in gold, performed a rendition of the national anthem.
Jennifer Lopez crooned a mash-up of “This Land is Your Land,” “America the Beautiful” and her own single, “Let’s Get Loud.”
And Country star Garth Brooks performed “Amazing Grace.”
Youngest person to read poem at inauguration steals the show
Amanda Gorman, a 22-year-old poet from Los Angeles, became the youngest person to read a poem at an inauguration after Biden was sworn in.
Gorman read the piece, “The Hill We Climb,” which she wrote after the siege on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6.
“We will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one…There is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it—if only we’re brave enough to be it.”
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) January 20, 2021
“We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation rather than share it, would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy,” she read. “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.”
Gorman was named the first Youth Poet Laureate of Los Angeles in 2014 and the country’s first National Youth Poet Laureate three years later.
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