President Joseph R. Biden Jr. reached across the aisle and the divided country as he continued his call to unite all Americans Jan. 20.
“With unity we can do great things,” he said from the U.S. Capitol, on high alert following an insurgence two weeks earlier. “Let's start afresh. Let's start to hear one another.”
Delaware's Biden – once the youngest senator sworn into office, now the oldest president sworn into office – continued a campaign promise to fight as hard for people who did not support him, as for those who did. “I will be a president for all Americans,” he said.
Beginning in 1971 as a New Castle County councilman, Biden has been an elected official for 50 years. He represented Delaware as a U.S. senator from 1973 to 2009. He served as United States vice president under President Barack Obama from 2009 to 2017.
Standing with Biden as he laid his hand on his family Bible to take the oath of office were his wife Jill, daughter Ashley and son Hunter. His granddaughters and grandson also attended the ceremony.
Biden called on Republicans and Democrats, urban residents and rural citizens, and people of all backgrounds, ethnicities and religions to work together. “Every disagreement doesn't have to be a means for total war,” he said.
Healing a divided nation, ending the COVID-19 pandemic that has shut down the country, and returning America's strength are priorities moving forward, Biden said.
“We will get through this together,” he said.
Biden owns a house in the North Shores community just north of Rehoboth Beach city limits. There were still a few houses with decorations, but as on most mid-January days, there wasn’t much happening in The Nation’s Summer Capital.
There are only a handful of restaurants open for lunch this time of year, and most of the ones that were open had something else on the televisions at the bar.
Dominique Lipscomb and Lorren Walker are Washington, D.C. residents visiting a friend in the area. The two men were sitting at the bar of the Purple Parrot watching the inauguration.
Lipscomb said it was fun to watch the ceremony.
“It’s part of our civic duty to be involved, and watching it is part of that duty,” said Lipscomb.
Dale Robertson was sitting at the next table over in the Parrot. He said his family grew up around the corner from the Bidens in New Castle County. The new president’s father was a great man, he said of Joe Biden Sr.
“He comes from a good family, for sure,” said Robertson, adding that he was too young to know Biden, but his older sister is Biden’s contemporary. “It’s certainly going to put Delaware on the map. I’m just so glad that Trump is gone. He really ruined this country.”
Robertson said he’s been impressed with the people Biden has nominated to fill his cabinet positions. It’s such a diverse group of people, he said.
Frank and Mark Winstead, a father and son from Lewes, were eating lunch at the Arena’s on Coastal Highway. The two men started laughing when asked about their thoughts on Biden being president. It depends on who is asked, because this table is split, said Mark.
Trump voter Frank said he got over Trump’s loss the day after it was announced Biden had won the presidential election.
“It’s a great day for the country, but be careful what you wish for,” said Frank.
Biden voter Mark quickly responded with, “That’s what we should have said four years ago.”
Moving forward, Mark said he hopes the country can heal.
“I don’t anticipate the two sides coming together, but hopefully the climate will settle down so we can get through this together,” he said.