This is America’s day.
This is democracy’s day.
A day of history and hope.
Of renewal and resolve.
Through a crucible for the ages America has been tested anew and America has risen to the challenge. Today, we celebrate the triumph not of a candidate, but of a cause, the cause of democracy. The will of the people has been heard and the will of the people has been heeded.
We have learned again that democracy is precious. Democracy is fragile.
And at this hour, my friends, democracy has prevailed.
So now, on this hallowed ground where just days ago violence sought to shake this Capitol’s very foundation, we come together as one nation, under God, indivisible, to carry out the peaceful transfer of power as we have for more than two centuries.
We look ahead in our uniquely American way – restless, bold, optimistic – and set our sights on the nation we know we can be and we must be.
|© Patrick Semansky/AFP|
When day comes we ask ourselves,where can we find light in this never-ending shade?The loss we carry,a sea we must wade.We've braved the belly of the beast,We've learned that quiet isn't always peace,and the norms and notionsof what just isisn't always just-ice.And yet the dawn is oursbefore we knew it.Somehow we do it.Somehow we've weathered and witnesseda nation that isn't broken,but simply unfinished.We the successors of a country and a timewhere a skinny Black girldescended from slaves and raised by a single mothercan dream of becoming presidentonly to find herself reciting for one.And yes we are far from polished.Far from pristine.But that doesn't mean we arestriving to form a union that is perfect.We are striving to forge a union with purpose,to compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters andconditions of man.And so we lift our gazes not to what stands between us,but what stands before us.We close the divide because we know, to put our future first,we must first put our differences aside.We lay down our armsso we can reach out our armsto one another.We seek harm to none and harmony for all.Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true,that even as we grieved, we grew,that even as we hurt, we hoped,that even as we tired, we tried,that we'll forever be tied together, victorious.Not because we will never again know defeat,but because we will never again sow division.Scripture tells us to envisionthat everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig treeand no one shall make them afraid.If we're to live up to our own time,then victory won't lie in the blade.But in all the bridges we've made,that is the promise to glade,the hill we climb.If only we dare.It's because being American is more than a pride we inherit,it's the past we step intoand how we repair it.We've seen a force that would shatter our nationrather than share it.Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy.And this effort very nearly succeeded.But while democracy can be periodically delayed,it can never be permanently defeated.In this truth,in this faith we trust.For while we have our eyes on the future,history has its eyes on us.This is the era of just redemptionwe feared at its inception.We did not feel prepared to be the heirsof such a terrifying hourbut within it we found the powerto author a new chapter.To offer hope and laughter to ourselves.So while once we asked,how could we possibly prevail over catastrophe?Now we assert,How could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?We will not march back to what was,but move to what shall be.A country that is bruised but whole,benevolent but bold,fierce and free.We will not be turned aroundor interrupted by intimidation,because we know our inaction and inertiawill be the inheritance of the next generation.Our blunders become their burdens.But one thing is certain,If we merge mercy with might,and might with right,then love becomes our legacy,and change our children's birthright.So let us leave behind a countrybetter than the one we were left with.Every breath from my bronze-pounded chest,we will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one.We will rise from the gold-limbed hills of the west.We will rise from the windswept northeast,where our forefathers first realized revolution.We will rise from the lake-rimmed cities of the midwestern states.We will rise from the sunbaked south.We will rebuild, reconcile and recover.And every known nook of our nation andevery corner called our country,our people diverse and beautiful will emerge,battered and beautiful.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.