Beautiful Day


Madeline Gray, Staff Writer

January 20, 2021. It was a sunny, albeit windy day. One would look at the weather that day and think not much of it. One would look at the date and possibly just see a mid-January day, one that has little meaning beyond that. But for millions of people, not just in the United States, but around the world, it was a beautiful day. 

Not many gathered, but the ones that did. gathered in relief and anticipation. In some places, people watched on with anxiety, possibly even fear. The wounds from mere weeks ago were still fresh, are still fresh, and we knew this would not fix everything. But it was a start. 

A small group of people gathering to celebrate. A bubble of happiness, a bubble of hope. A Vermont senator showcasing mittens made by a schoolteacher. Two Georgia senator-elects, representing a new era for Georgia and the United States, watching with pride.

A woman breaking a glass ceiling, one that seemed so far away, so high up for so long. A woman who had broken so many glass ceilings before in her life, knowing that this is the greatest one yet. Knowing that this one may be what she is remembered most for. A woman knowing how important this is for every little girl in America watching, the little girls who won’t have to remember a time without a Madam Vice President. She did it with a smile on her face, one that exemplified her devotion to the office she was taking up. Her predecessor watched. His predecessor did not. 

Two pop icons, one singing the national anthem with more pride and gusto than most had ever seen before, proclaiming to the world that “Our flag was still there,” and that indeed, it will stay there. The other, promising Americans that, “This land was made for you and me.” There was something in both performances that set them apart from previous inaugurations. Perhaps the feeling was that for the first time in quite some time, people could share in these women’s pride as they devoted odes to America. 

A young woman, one who knows firsthand of the struggles so many Americans have to endure on a daily basis, speaking on her experiences in the country. They are poignant and they ring true. They speak to all those who had lost hope recently, but who now see that we can improve and that we can work to fulfill the promises of the Constitution given to us by our forefathers. She speaks to all of us, and she perfectly summarizes the beauty of an imperfect America, about to be led by a man who knows of that imperfection but loves it anyway, just as she does. She knows that our beauty lies in our pursuit of freedom and liberty for all and that as long as we continue to fight for that, the American ideals we love so dearly will live on with our fight. She speaks with a confidence and grace that mesmerizes a nation, and she will be remembered with the inauguration in her own right.

A man, a man who had gone through so much in his life, an imperfect man who acknowledged his mistakes, a man who knew grief and understood America’s, took the mantle of the highest office in the land. He knew of the pain we were feeling. He had spoken of his often, tears falling down his face a day before as he spoke of his beloved late son. His family gathered around him, his family that knew his sacrifices and had pride in his achievements. He had tried for this office before. However, this was his success. This was his time.

As the final words of an unbreakable promise are recited, a tone shifts in America. A man preaching of unity, of the strength of America and how he knows our grief, but he also knows that we can overcome it. People letting out a sigh of relief. The stench of weeks ago will still linger for a while longer, but perhaps now we can begin to clean it out. Perhaps now we can begin to heal.

A ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. A wreath laid down. Respect is given to all those who have given their lives or livelihoods to the country. A deep feeling of respect permeates the moment. 

A walk to the White House. The new Vice President and President, not surrounded by many, but many soldiers, preparing to begin their work. People holding their breath one more time. One last breath out as the new President and Vice President, accompanied by their families, enter their new office. There is much to do that will take unprecedented efforts and, for the moment, unimaginable cooperation. But America had a new start, and for a moment, on a beautiful day, that is enough.