An inauguration like no other: Notable moments of a momentous day

Washington (CNN)President Joe Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday looked a bit different from past ceremonies ushering in a new administration.

There is, after all, immensely heightened security in Washington, DC, and a swirling pandemic, not to mention the absence of the outgoing president, the first time that’s happened in more than a century and a half.
It’s been a day rife with history and packed with unforgettable moments. Here’s a look at some of the highlights so far:

Trump leaves the White House

President Donald Trump departs the White House

President Donald Trump departs the White House 01:07
Though former President Donald Trump did not attend Biden’s swearing-in ceremony, he was publicly seen several times, including when he left the White House as president for the last time shortly after 8 a.m. ET.
Before boarding Marine One with the former first lady, Trump told reporters at the White House it was a “great honor” to serve as 45th President of the United States before saying goodbye.

Trump speaks at Joint Base Andrews before heading to Florida

See Trump's final message as President as his family looks on

Trump also held a final farewell ceremony, where both he and former first lady Melania Trump delivered remarks.
The former President thanked his family and chief of staff, and promised to “always fight.” He also wished the incoming Biden administration “great luck,” though he didn’t mention his successor by name.
Melania Trump, meanwhile, told attendees that “being your first lady was my greatest honor.” The two then boarded Air Force One for the last time just before 9 a.m., taking the presidential plane to their Florida home.

Biden attends church

Just after the Trumps boarded Air Force One, Biden and first lady Jill Biden headed over to Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in DC, where they attended mass with their family, Vice President Kamala Harris and her family. They were joined by the congressional leaders of both parties.
Incoming presidents typically attend services on the morning of their inauguration, often at St. John’s Episcopal Church, a small church across Lafayette Square from the White House known as “The Church of the Presidents.”

Biden arrives at Capitol

See historic moment as Joe Biden and Kamala Harris arrive at US Capitol

See historic moment as Joe Biden and Kamala Harris arrive at US Capitol 03:28
Biden arrived at the US Capitol shortly after 11 a.m. and Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, accompanied him and Jill Biden up the steps of the iconic building.
When Biden arrived at the inauguration stage, he greeted his predecessor and former boss, former President Barack Obama, on his way to his seat. He received a lengthy ovation from those gathered on the stage and sat down at 11:19 a.m.

Harris and Obama first bump

As she walked to her seat on the inaugural stage, Harris shared double fist bumps with Obama.
The gesture, exchanged shortly before Harris was sworn in as vice president, carried symbolic weight as Obama and Harris made history as the first African Americans to serve as president and vice president, respectively.
Harris similarly fist bumped Michelle Obama, who made history as the country’s first African American first lady.

Harris is sworn in as vice president

Kamala Harris sworn in as Vice President

Kamala Harris sworn in as Vice President 01:12
Harris took the oath of office at 11:42 a.m. She used two Bibles during the oath, which was administered by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
Harris officially became the first female, first Black and first South Asian vice president at noon.

Biden is sworn in as the 46th president

Joe Biden sworn in as 46th president of the United States

Joe Biden sworn in as 46th president of the United States 01:33
Biden completed his oath of office at 11:48 a.m., using a treasured family Bible that dates to the 19th century and was held by Jill Biden. The oath was administered by Chief Justice John Roberts.
After being sworn in, Biden delivered an inaugural address in which he called for unity and pledged to be a “president for all Americans,” including those who did not support his campaign at his inauguration address.
The President also offered a forewarning his remarks, describing the nation as weathering a “winter of peril” amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Singers and poet perform

Youth poet laureate recites her stunning poem at Biden inauguration

Youth poet laureate recites her stunning poem at Biden inauguration 05:32
The inauguration also featured several celebrity performances, including a rendition of the National Anthem by Lady Gaga. Jennifer Lopez sang a medley of American musical selections including “This Land is your Land” and “America the Beautiful,” and Garth Brooks performed “Amazing Grace.”
Amanda Gorman, the nation’s first-ever youth poet laureate, also delivered a poem in which she challenged Americans to “leave behind a country better than the one we were left” and unify.

Pence and Harris share a laugh

Pences share a laugh with Vice President Harris and her husband

Pences share a laugh with Vice President Harris and her husband 02:30
Former Vice President Mike Pence, who attended the ceremony even though Trump did not, was met with bipartisan applause when he and his wife, Karen Pence, walked out onto the inaugural stands earlier Wednesday.
Later, as Harris and Emhoff bid the Pences farewell outside the Capitol, the two couples shared a laugh as the Pences began their private life.

Biden signs first presidential documents

Watch President Biden sign first 3 proclamations

Watch President Biden sign first 3 proclamations 01:33
Biden signed three documents after the ceremony outside the Capitol finished, including an Inauguration Day Proclamation, nominations to Cabinet positions and nominations to sub-Cabinet positions.

Biden and Harris receive congressional gifts

Congressional leaders present 32-pound gifts to Biden and Harris

Congressional leaders present 32-pound gifts to Biden and Harris 01:16
The President and vice president also received congressional gifts, as is customary, including a painting by a Black painter from the Civil War presented to Biden by Sen. Roy Blunt, a Missouri Republican. Minnesota Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar presented Biden and Harris with Lenox crystal vases, while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and now-Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell presented the President and vice president with American flags.

Biden and Harris attend wreath-laying at Arlington

Biden, Harris honor fallen soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery

Biden, Harris honor fallen soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery 02:19
Biden and Harris went from the Capitol to Arlington National Cemetery for a wreath-laying ceremony with three former presidents — Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton — at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Biden walks in inaugural parade

Biden fist bumps members of the media during inaugural parade

Biden fist bumps members of the media during inaugural parade 06:48
Biden and his family got out of the presidential motorcade to walk down the stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue outside the White House. The President stopped a few times to greet people along the route, including Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser and NBC’s Al Roker.

The Bidens enter the White House

First family enters the White House for the first time

First family enters the White House for the first time 01:44
Shortly before 4 p.m., Biden entered the White House for the first time as the 46th commander in chief. He and the first lady paused for a moment on the North Portico as “Hail to the Chief” played.
They embraced, waved to cameras and walked alongside their extended family into the Grand Foyer to begin his presidency.

Harris swears in new Democratic senators

A proud Harris smiles as she swears in new senators in her new role

A proud Harris smiles as she swears in new senators in her new role 02:01
Harris returned to the Capitol to swear in three new Democratic senators: Georgia’s Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, and California’s Alex Padilla, who replaced Harris in the chamber.
Their swearing-in officially gave Democrats control of the Senate for the first time since they lost the chamber in 2014. Harris will wield power as the Senate’s crucial tie-breaking vote.
Harris laughed as she read a line referencing her own resignation from the Senate as part of the swearing-in.
“The chair lays before the Senate two certificates of election and a certificate of appointment to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of former Sen. Kamala D. Harris of California,” Harris said.
“Yeah, that was very weird.”

Biden takes aim at Trump’s legacy with early executive actions

Biden signs executive actions aimed at dismantling Trump's policies

Biden signs executive actions aimed at dismantling Trump’s policies 02:56
Biden got down to work in the White House later Wednesday, finalizing over a dozen executive moves by signing a flurry of executive orders, memorandums and directives to agencies.
“There’s no time to start like today,” Biden told reporters in the Oval Office as he began signing a stack of orders and memoranda. “I’m going to start by keeping the promises I made to the American people.”

Biden warns staffers he won’t tolerate disrespect

‘I’ll fire you on the spot’: Biden tells staff to treat others with respect 01:29
Biden warned new White House employees during a swearing-in ceremony that he would terminate them if he found them trashing one another.
Making explicit that he wanted to break with the toxic environment that pervaded the West Wing during the previous administration, Biden said he wanted his staff governed by collegiality and respect.
“If you’re ever working with me and I hear you treating another colleague with disrespect, talking down to someone, I will fire you on the spot,” he said.

Press secretary vows to champion transparency and honesty

White House press secretary Jen Psaki began her tenure by holding the administration’s first press briefing Wednesday night and vowing to return to fact-based briefings.
Psaki said that upon accepting the job, she was committed to “bringing truth and transparency back to the briefing room.”
She continued, “There will be times when we see things differently in this room, I mean among all of us. That’s OK. That’s part of our democracy, and rebuilding trust with the American people will be central to our focus in the press office and in the White House.”

Biden reiterates call for unity during ‘Celebrating America’ inauguration special

Standing in front of the Lincoln Memorial, Biden reiterated his call for unity Wednesday evening during a speech at the primetime inauguration special “Celebrating America.”
“It is humbling to stand here in this place in front of these sacred words. Humbling out of respect to President Lincoln and the office we now share and humbling because of you, the American people,” Biden said. “As I said earlier today, we have learned again that democracy is precious and because of you democracy has prevailed.”
The star-studded 90-minute program kicked off with Bruce Springsteen performing his song “Land of Hope and Dreams.”
The special, hosted by Tom Hanks, also features performances from Jon Bon Jovi — who campaigned with Biden in Pennsylvania, John Legend, the Foo Fighters, Demi Lovato, Justin Timberlake and Ant Clemons.
This story has been updated with additional developments Wednesday.

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