*Watch President Joe Biden’s Inauguration Day speech in the video above.*
WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) — Fireworks lit up the sky behind the Washington Monument to mark the end of Inauguration Day for President Joe Biden.
Biden and first lady Jill Biden watched the end of the day’s events from a balcony in the White House on Wednesday night. The Bidens’ grandchildren danced and clapped on the balcony.
While the coronavirus pandemic and security concerns in Washington vastly scaled back inaugural events, organizers created a celebratory atmosphere with live and recorded celebrity performances, ending with singer Katy Perry.
Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, watched the fireworks from the steps of the Washington Monument after Harris delivered brief remarks.
In a pretaped video that aired during Biden’s inaugural television special Wednesday night, Republican George W. Bush, along with Democrats Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, wished Biden luck.
Obama said, “Inaugurations celebrate a tradition of a peaceful transfer of power that is over two centuries old.” But the mere fact that all three felt compelled to come together to address the issue speaks to the fraught moment the country faces.
President Donald Trump repeatedly and falsely insisted for months that the November election was stolen from him, and he whipped up a violent crowd of supporters who stormed the U.S. Capitol two weeks ago seeking to overturn the certification of Biden win. He also snubbed his successor’s inauguration.
In the video, Clinton urged Americans to get off their “high horses” and reach out to friends and neighbors with whom they may have differences. Bush said he wanted Biden to be successful because his “success is our country’s success.”
Kamala Harris talked about the power of “American aspiration” in her first speech to the nation as vice president.
With the Washington Monument lit up behind her Wednesday night, Harris called on Americans to remember “we are undaunted in our belief that we shall overcome, that we will rise up.”
She also cast her ascension as the first female vice president as a demonstration of the nation’s character.
Borrowing a line she frequently used on the campaign trail, she said, “We not only see what has been — we see what can be.”
Harris gave a nod to American scientists, parents and teachers who are persevering through the coronavirus pandemic and encouraged people to “see beyond crises.” She spoke during President Joe Biden’s “Celebrating America” event to mark the inauguration.