Today’s Inauguration Day was historic in more ways than one. President Biden is the oldest president to take the oath of office, and Vice President Harris is the first woman, first Black person and first person of South Asian descent to serve as Vice President.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions and ongoing security concerns following the insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6, the crowd that usually fills the National Mall on Inauguration Day was absent. In New Hampshire and across the country, Americans watched the new president take the oath of office from the safety of their homes.
We asked our audience to tell us what this moment means to them, and to share their hopes and concerns for Biden’s presidency.
Granite Staters met the day with mixed reactions: some felt hopeful and some disappointed - others shared cautious optimism as we look towards the next four years under a new presidential administration.
Here’s some of what you told us:
It was really amazing to me that I could see, even a vice president, that was a woman. It felt like an important, symbolic thing. People say, but it’s just symbolic. But no, I think it’s important. — Mary Ellen Wessels, teacher in Nashua
We cannot put enough emphasis on what this moment meant for women and children who look like me...One of my biggest concerns is that people are going to expect change overnight, and I think that Biden and Harris together are really committed to helping us untangle the mess that we’ve been given, but I don’t think it’s going to happen overnight. — Shoshana Kelly, Nashua Alderwoman
I think he needs to listen to everyone: progressives, centrists, more conservatives, because at the end we want the same outcome, which is making sure that this country is back to where we need to be….We are Americans, we are diverse, we are of multiple cultures, but we are here with one reason only: to make America the country, the nation, that we need to be. — Sebastian Fuentes, Immigrant Rights Activist
Biden and many politicians have a tendency to say things that sound amazing, and fail to follow through on them. So, I’m hopeful, but cautiously optimistic. You can’t please everyone, so I’m worried that he’s going to get so caught up in trying to unite people, and have everyone agree with everyone, respect everyone and support everyone, that he's not actually going to be able to get anything done. — Kai Parlett, Youth Climate Organizer
I wish our new President well and hope he can unite our country, but at this point I don't know how he can. When you vow within your first 100 days to destroy much of the previous administration's accomplishments, how do you expect to heal? — Sharon Longshaw
To me it marks a sad milestone headed down a path to socialism. Government paid health care, Green New Deal, government funded education, continuing handouts to all, open borders with voting and benefits for all illegal immigrants and soon, government run industries and businesses. — Kenneth Riley
For me, this day finally means I can sleep well at night after four years of dreading the news I might wake up to each morning. It means I can now wake up to the certain knowledge that there’s a team of decent, intelligent, thoughtful, compassionate people at the helm of my beloved country. — Meredith Jordan
This story includes additional reporting by Sarah Gibson and Annie Ropeik.