WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 20: Joe Biden is sworn in as U.S. President during his inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2021 in Washington, DC. During today’s inauguration ceremony Joe Biden becomes the 46th president of the United States. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Below are excerpts from President Joe Biden’s inaugural address, following his swearing-in as the nation’s 46th president:
We’ll press forward with speed and urgency, for we have much to do in this winter of peril and significant possibilities. Much to repair, much to restore, much to heal, much to build, and much to gain. Few people in our nation’s history have been more challenged or found a time more challenging or difficult than the time we’re in now.
We can right wrongs. We can put people to work in good jobs. We can teach our children in safe schools. We can overcome this deadly virus. We can reward work, rebuild the middle class and make health care secure for all. We can deliver racial justice. We can make America once again the leading force for good in the world.
We can see each other, not as adversaries, but as neighbors. We can treat each other with dignity and respect. We can join forces, stop the shouting, and lower the temperature. For without unity, there is no peace, only bitterness and fury.
And so today, at this time, in this place, let us start afresh. All of us. Let us listen to one another. Hear one another. See one another. Show respect to one another. Politics need not be a raging fire, destroying everything in its path. Every disagreement doesn’t have to be a cause for total war. And we must reject the culture in which facts themselves are manipulated, and even manufactured.
Here we stand, looking out to the great mall where Dr. King spoke of his dream. Here we stand where, 108 years ago at another inaugural, thousands of protesters tried to block brave women marching for the right to vote. Today, we mark the swearing-in of the first woman in American history elected to national office, Vice President Kamala Harris. Don’t tell me things can’t change!
And here we stand, just days after a riotous mob thought they could use violence to silence the will of the people, to stop the work of our democracy and to drive us from this sacred ground. That did not happen. It will never happen. Not today. Not tomorrow. Not ever. Not ever.
We must end this uncivil war that pits red against blue, rural versus versus urban, conservative versus liberal. We can do this if we open our souls instead of hardening our hearts.
My fellow Americans, in the work ahead of us, we will need each other. We will need all our strength to persevere through this dark winter. We are entering what may well be the toughest and deadliest period of the virus. We must set aside politics and finally face this pandemic as one nation.
Now we must step up, all of us. It is a time for boldness, for there is much to do. And this is certain. I promise you, we will be judged, you and I, by how we resolve these cascading crises of our era.
Before God and all of you I give you my word. I will always level with you. I will defend the Constitution.I will defend our democracy. I will defend America.
So, with purpose and resolve, we turn to the tasks of our time, sustained by faith, driven by conviction, and devoted to one another and the country we love with all our hearts. May God bless America and may God protect our troops. Thank you, America.
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