President Joe Biden and VP Kamala Harris inaugurated and get to work

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Joe Biden took the oath of office on Wednesday to become the 46th president of the United States, aiming to repair a deeply divided nation.

“This is America’s day. This is democracy’s day,” Mr. Biden said. “Today we celebrate the triumph not of a candidate, but of a cause. The cause of democracy. The people, the will of the people, has been heard, and the will of the people has been heeded.”

Vice President Kamala Harris was also sworn in, making history as the first woman and person of color to take that position.

The inauguration ceremony was held on the Capitol just two weeks after it was stormed by violent protesters.

President Biden signed the inaugural proclamation and Cabinet and sub-Cabinet nominations following the inauguration ceremonies on the Capitol steps in Washington D.C. 

Biden and Harris then visited Arlington National Cemetery for a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier to pay respects to U.S. military war dead.  Three former presidents and first ladies also attended. 

Arlington National Cemetery

ARLINGTON, VA – JANUARY 20: U.S. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris arrive to a wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier after the 59th Presidential Inauguration ceremony at the U.S. Capitol, as Former U.S. President Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, and former U.S. President George W. Bush and Laura Bush, and former U.S. President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton look on, January 20, 2021 in Arlington, Virginia. During today’s inauguration ceremony Joe Biden becomes the 46th president of the United States. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/AFP

By 5pm, Biden signed his first executive orders on Wednesday as U.S. President, targeting Trump policies on immigration, climate change, racial equity and virus.

Vice-President Kamala Harris swore in three new senators, all Democrats. Jon Ossoff of Georgia, the Rev. Raphael Warnock of Georgia and Alex Padilla of California. Democrats now control the Senate with the VP as the tie breaking vote.

A scaled-down and mostly audience-free parade escorted U.S. President Biden and Vice President Harris and their families to the White House for the first time since they took office. Members of Howard University Showtime marching band joined State Troopers and National Guard in the Inauguration Day parade. President Biden and his family walked the final stretch to their new home at the White House, stopping to greet members of the press and and on lookers.

Outgoing president Donald Trump didn’t attend Biden’s inauguration ceremony. But three other former presidents including Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama gathered to watch the ceremonial transfer of power.  

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic,  no large crowds attended this year’s ceremony at the Capitol. People are encouraged to join the inauguration ceremony virtually instead of in person.  The D.C. residents watch the inauguration ceremony with social distance. This event has attracted audiences from around the world as well.  

With U.S. President Joe Biden officially sworn in as the 46th president of the U.S., Americans in Washington, D.C. are reflecting on the last four years under former President Trump, and the future ahead under a new administration.

Before the inauguration ceremony, President Joe Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, attended mass at St. Matthews Church in Washington D.C. Vice-President Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff also attended the church service. 

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), her husband Paul Pelosi, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (D-NY), his wife and former Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and his wife were also present at the mass.

Donald Trump departed the White House for the final time on Marine One early Wednesday morning. “It’s been a great honor, the honor of a lifetime. The greatest people in the world, the greatest home in the world,” Trump told reporters on the South Lawn before heading to Joint Base Andrews with his wife, Melania.

Trump gave an unscripted speech to a group of supporters, including his family, at Joint Base Andrews before departing to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida on Air Force One. “We will back in some form,” Trump said during his farewell ceremony that featured a 21-gun salute and a military band. Trump is the first president in more than 150 years to skip the inauguration of his successor.