There have been inaugurals in times of national crisis, in times of war and in times of bitter dissension. But much about the 59
th Inauguration was nonetheless unique: The small number of attendees seated far apart in masks; the absence of the incumbent president two weeks following an insurrection he encouraged; the first woman elected as vice president. And yet much was still familiar: The new president recited the oath of office as it appears in the Constitution, as has been done every four years since 1789.
Here are some images of a day that both shattered precedent and reinforced it.
The U.S. Capitol is seen at sunrise on Wednesday, two weeks after it was stormed by a mob of pro-Trump extremists.
Eric Thayer / Getty Images
President Trump and first lady Melania Trump board Marine One as they depart the White House on Wednesday. The Trumps did not attend the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
Members of the National Guard stand at a downtown checkpoint in Washington, D.C.
A few people gather in downtown Washington, D.C., near the fenced-off parade route on Pennsylvania Ave. on Wednesday morning.
Leslie Lopez, 18, from California, shows off her pins showing President Biden and Vice President Harris outside a restaurant in Washington, D.C.
National Guard and security personnel patrol the National Mall, which has a display of nearly 200,000 flags to represent the people who could not attend the inauguration ceremonies because of the pandemic.
Daniel Acker / Bloomberg via Getty Images
Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor administers the oath of office to Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
U.S. Marines stand outside the Capitol building on Inauguration Day.
Daniel Acker / Getty Images
Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts administers the oath of office to President-elect Joe Biden.
Daniel Acker / Getty Images
Poet Amanda Gorman recites her inaugural poem, "The Hill We Climb," at the 59th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, D.C.
President Joe Biden gives his Inaugural speech.
President Biden speaks on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol.
Kiersten Vicknair, 20, from Dallas, celebrates on Inauguration Day with a small crowd gathered in Washington, D.C.
Ariana Avalos, 24, stands behind sisters Cynthia Cortez, 21, left, and Teresa Cortez, 19, in downtown Washington, D.C. All three came from California to watch the inauguration.
/ Eman Mohammed for NPR
Members of the National Guard walking through Black Lives Matter Plaza to switch shifts with other members after President Biden inauguration ceremony ended in Washington D.C.
Pro-immigration reform activists hold a banner during the inauguration ceremony in Washington, D.C.
Biden and Harris participate in a wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va. Former President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle, former President George W. Bush and his wife Laura and former President Bill Clinton and his wife former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton look on.
Di'Amond Moore is a photo editing intern at NPR.
Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.