— CNN (@CNN) January 21, 2021
Two days ago, America welcomed the 46th President, Joe Biden, and a vice president who is breaking glass ceilings on so many levels that there are no glass or ceilings left.
Kamala Harris is the first woman, first Black, and first South Asian to be elected to the vice president’s office.
In my home, as I curled up with my dogs to watch the Inauguration ceremony, the window to the future strikingly presented a different vibe than the previous one. The vibe was solemn hope for a peaceful and united future—much like the presence of about a thousand dignitaries comprising of past presidents and esteemed politicians from both parties, along with Vice President Pence.
Socially distant, mask-covered faces—the pandemic as an overtone could not be forgotten even if one tried to forget it in the celebratory sentiments.
Most importantly, I wanted reassurance that the country will strive to heal and unite, come together, and work on the differences exacerbated by the previous leader. I know it will not be easy to pluck and drop the division. This is a herculean and draining task.
But, we must ask ourselves—when would it be easy to put aside differences if we don’t talk with each other, or if we look up or down at someone, or if we can’t treat each other equally and respectfully?
We may have to argue first and discuss later to reach a compromise, but when does a “silent treatment” serve anyone? The silent treatment is passive-aggressive and is turning toxic. It’s time to start talking as a first step to heal.
Here are my favorite moments from the Inauguration Day—these moments resonate with peace, love, diversity, and unity, and will be remembered with history as witness:
1. “We’ve learned again that democracy is precious, democracy is fragile, and at this hour, my friends, democracy has prevailed.” ~ Joe Biden.
2. Officer Eugene Goodman escorted Vice President-elect Kamala Harris to the inauguration. Officer Goodman had single-handedly led a pro-Trump mob away from the Senate chambers during the United States Capitol attack.
3. “My whole soul is in this.” ~ President Biden as he stressed unity.
4. “This is democracy’s day, a day of history and hope, of renewal and resolve.” ~ President Biden calling Inauguration Day, “America’s day.”
5. “We answered the call of history; we met the moment. Democracy and hope, truth and justice did not die on our watch but thrived.”~ President Biden
6. “Here’s my message to those beyond our borders…we will repair our alliances…and we’ll lead not merely by the example of our power, but by the power of our example.” ~ President Biden
7. Amanda Gorman, the first-ever Youth Poet Laureate in the U.S., recited a soul-stirring poem of hers, “The Hill We Climb.” In so many exciting ways, she reminds me of Maya Angelou. And, like President Biden, she has struggled with a speech impairment with auditory sensory issues and has a goal to run for president in 2036 (I can’t wait for this young woman to blaze the trail!). She also gives me hope as a special needs parent.
8. “A nation not broken, but unfinished” and “There is always light. If only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it,” are the best lines from Amanda Gorman on Inauguration Day.
The celebrities marked their presence gracefully. Lady Gaga performed the national anthem, and country music legend Garth Brooks sang Amazing Grace. J. Lo, who in her version of “This Land is Your Land,” gave a moment to history in Spanish—”Una nación, Bajo Dios indivisible, con Libertad y Justicia para todos,” which is translated to “One Nation, indivisible under God, with liberty and justice for all.” I will cherish this moment.
The outgoing president also marked another first today—Trump is the first U.S. president in 152 years to not attend his successor’s inauguration. Well, I will leave this sentence here without any further elaboration.
Many Americans and the eyes that are recording history would like to remember Inauguration Day as the day when democracy was upheld. Now onto the efforts to uphold the “united” in the United States of America.
Let’s join hands and hearts to welcome both President Biden and Vice President Harris as the national leaders of this free world and our promised land.
May God bless us all, and God bless America.