President Joe Biden called for unity during his inaugural address on Wednesday (January 20) from the steps of the Capitol Building. Biden acknowledged that the country is facing numerous challenges as he takes office and said the only way to meet them is to "start fresh" and "begin to listen to one another again."
"To overcome these challenges, to restore the soul and secure the future of America, requires so much more than words and requires the most elusive of all things in a democracy: unity."
Biden vowed to represent all Americans and said he will always work for the "public good."
"I will defend the Constitution. I'll defend our democracy. I'll defend America. And I'll give all, all of you, keep everything I do in your service, thinking not of power, but of possibilities. Not of personal interest, but the public good. And together, we shall write an American story of hope, not fear, of unity, not division. Of light, not darkness. A story of decency and dignity, love and healing, greatness and goodness," he said.
"Politics doesn't have to 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," President Biden said.
Biden took a moment to recognize Vice President Kamal Harris, who made history by becoming the first woman, Black American, and South Asian American to hold the office of Vice President.
"Here we stand, looking out on the great Mall where Dr. King spoke of his dream," he said. "Here we stand, where 108 years ago at another inaugural, thousands of protesters tried to block brave women marching for the right to vote. And 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."
Biden took a moment to remember those who lost their lives to the coronavirus pandemic.
"In my first act as president, I'd like to ask you to join me in a moment of silent prayer to remember all those who we lost in this past year to the pandemic, those 400,000 fellow Americans -- moms, dads, husbands, wives, sons, daughters, friends, neighbors and co-workers."
Biden ended his speech on a positive note, praising Americans for rising to the challenges facing the nation.
"May this be the story that guides us, the story that inspires, and the stories that tell ages yet to come that we answered the call of history. We met the moment, democracy and hope, truth and justice did not die on our watch but thrived, that America secured liberty at home and stood once again as a beacon to the world. That is what we owe our forebearers, one another, and generations to follow. With purpose and resolve, we turn to those tasks of our time, sustained by faith, driven by conviction, and devoted to one another and the country we love with all hearts," Biden said.
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