This post first appeared in the DWGC’s monthly publication, The Donkey’s Tale, in February 2021.
By Mary Wright
On a cool, breezy January morning, filled with sunshine and promise, we were witness to a treasured and honored tradition: The constitutional demonstration of our freedom–the peaceful transfer of power to President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., as he was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States. On January 20th, in his inaugural address, President Biden spoke of unity and a call for our Nation to face our challenges together.
We were filled with emotion that swelled, as Vice-President elect, Kamala Harris, regal and radiant in purple, took the oath of office and was introduced as “Madame Vice-President”. We saw before us, gleaming in the bright sunshine, the White Capitol Dome upon the hill. The splendor of this architecture spoke to the nation’s history of peaceful transitions of power. On this historical day, the Capitol was transformed to its original beauty, glimmering in the light of a new day.
As the day unfolded, we were witness to our traditions, as cherished and steady as our nation. We were reminded how precious those traditions — our symbols of democracy– are to us all. The singing of the national anthem, the taking of the oath of office, the marine band, the congressional and senatorial participation, and the passing of the baton to the next President. We celebrated with tears of joy and pride, with a deep sigh of relief, and with toasts (and maybe a little happy dance) to this historical moment. This was a day filled with blue skies and our flag waving in the breeze for all to see.
After a deeply turbulent transition, including the storming of the Capitol by supporters of our previous president, democracy has prevailed. With each new day, we exhale…and feel a sense of joy and relief. After braving a tumultuous, nightmarish four years, the weight has been lifted and we are filled with hope.
We have been reminded; we can never take our democracy for granted. That it is fragile and must be cared for, fought for, and claimed as our own. Let’s enjoy this cherished moment. We have endured and we triumphed.
I am reminded of words so often spoken, “United We Stand, Divided We Fall”. We have stood strong, united, and have fought back for our democracy. We will focus in the coming days on the challenges ahead and begin the work of healing our nation. We have been tested and know we are strong, we are bold, and we are committed to bringing back our country and our cities, greater and stronger than ever. Let our work in Greenville begin.
In the beautifully spoken words of the inaugural poet Amanda Gorman, “When day comes we step out of the shade, aflame and unafraid, the new dawn blooms as we free it. For there is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it.”