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CNN Live Event/Special
Joe Biden's Inauguration. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired January 20, 2021 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
EVA LONGORIA BASTON, ACTOR: Tonight, we honor our nation. We honor the American people's ability and desire to come together during difficult times to emerge even stronger than before. We wanted to showcase the diversity and talent of our creative community. So, to celebrate the colors and that diversity and the beauty in our lives. Let's head to the Austin City Limits performing colors. This is Black Pumas
Black Pumas: Hello were the Black Pumas from Austin Texas. Congratulations to President Biden and Vice President Harris on this historic win. We hope you enjoy the music.
TOM HANKS, ACTOR: Welcome back, America, to your celebration. We will continue to recognize everyday heroes and focus on our nation's educators. We have asked much of them over the last year and they've overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges. So, let's do them honor, all of them. As we look at some educators from coast-to-coast, including one kindergarten teacher who is enthusiastic, remote lessons became a viral sensation and taught us all a little something.
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JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This whole country owes teachers like you a debt of gratitude. You made an enormous sacrifice and showed so much creativity. Everything that would be possible for our country tomorrow is going to be in large part, thanks to what you do today.
MACKENZIE ADAMS, KINDERGARTEN TEACHER: The kids give me the energy. I feel right off of them, seeing their smiles and their laughter. They do it for them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ADAMS: Good evening, everyone, I'm Mackenzie Adams in Seattle, Washington. Like many educators, my passion is engaging young minds, whether in the classroom or through a computer screen. I happened to go viral because of it. It's been a difficult year for our students. And I am so proud of all the teachers, parents and students across the country who have adapted and made the best out of a tough time. So, for all my fellow teachers, for all of my kiddos at Glenwood Elementary School and for all of you watching at home, here's Seattle's own Foo Fighters.
DAVE GROHL, SINGER: Mackenzie Adams reminds me of another outstanding teacher who holds a very special place in my heart. My mother, Virginia, who is a public-school teacher for 35 years. Like Mackenzie and Dr. Jill Biden, she was also a mentor to her students, remembered long after their graduation.
This year, our teachers were faced with unprecedented challenges, but through dedication and creativity, they faced those challenges head on. So, this next song is for Mackenzie and all of our unshakeable teachers that continue to enlighten our nation's kids every day. This is called Times Like These.
KERRY WASHINGTON, ACTOR: I'm Kerry Washington. This day has been a long time coming. Groundbreaking women have fought for their dreams and carved the path. And now Kamala Harris is the first black and South Asian woman, vice president of these United States. She is the first, but she will not be the last. The future for girls everywhere is limitless. To celebrate this historic day, some extraordinary Broadway performers have come together to provide inspiration.
HANKS: Celebrating America. Welcome back. Hunger continues to be a heartbreaking reality in our nation. During this pandemic, the number of families who go hungry has skyrocketed. Once again, there are heroes all over America who saw the needs and then rose to the challenges to help their neighbors. Maybe they even helped you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: Ending hunger and malnutrition at home and around the world is a consequential if we do nothing today. Food insecurity will loom as an even larger and bigger threat to more. You're fostering a world that is more just and peaceful.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Our lemonade stands from laser (ph), Little John's, they gave food to families who have food insecurity.
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JOSE ANDRES, CHEF: My name is Jose Andres. I am a chef who believes that food is not just a luxury for the lucky few. It's a basic human right to live free from hunger. But today, we have a hunger crisis in America. One in four of our neighbors is going hungry.
As an immigrant and a proud American citizen, I know how Americans respond to a crisis. We step up through food banks, churches, and organizations like mine. World Central Kitchen, working with over 2500 restaurants to prepare more than 35 million meals for this pandemic.
Food is the fastest way to rebuild our sense of community. We can put people back to work preparing it and we can put lives back together by fighting hunger. We need everyone to join this fight. We need longer tables, not higher walls, and we need more Americans like eight-year- old Morgan Marsh-McGlone from Belleville, Wisconsin, who set out to make America a better place by helping to feed people she's never met.
MORGAN MARSH-MCGLONE, VIRTUAL LEMONADE STAND: Thank you, Chef Andres. When I learned that kids who used to get meals at school were going hungry because of COVID, I wanted to open a lemonade stand to raise money to help. But because of social distancing, that couldn't work. So, I obtain online lemonade stand. There is over $52,000, which means I have to make a lot of lemonade coupons, I'm happy to be one of the many Americans helping others. And now back to Tom Hanks.
HANKS: Well, thanks, Morgan. I want to be just like you. President Biden has often turned to the words of Irish poets for solace and encouragement in the pantheon of his favorite poets, Seamus Heaney stands above all others. The president has frequently quoted one poem that his for its particularly relevance, inspiring him to declare that this is our moment to make hope and history rhyme.
So now to recite it at the United Palace Theater in his Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City, here's Lin Manuel Miranda.
LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA, ACTOR: The Cure of Troy by Seamus Heaney. Human being suffers. They torture one another. They get hurt and get hard. No poem or play or song can fully right or wrong, inflicted and endured. History says, don't hope on the side of the grave, but then once in a lifetime, longed for tidal wave of justice can rise up and hope and history rhyme.
So, hope for a great sea change on the far side of revenge. Believe that a further shore is reachable from here. Believe in miracles. And cures and healing wells call miracles self-healing, the utter self- revealing double take a feeling, if there's fire on the mountain and lightning and storm and a God speaks from the sky, that means someone is hearing the outcry and the birth cry of new life at its term. It means once in a lifetime that justice can rise up and hope and history rhyme.
BIDEN: Once in a lifetime that justice can rise up and hope and history rhyme.
KATE RUBINS, NASA ASTRONAUT: Good evening, America, I'm NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, along with the American members of our Expedition 64 crew aboard the International Space Station. We're 200 miles above Earth and traveling at 17,500 miles per hour around its orbit. We're up here working with our international partners to find new scientific breakthroughs from improved vaccines to safer drinking water to help people all over the world.
Just as we're celebrating two decades of global cooperation in space, it's truly an honor for us to celebrate America today as we unite for this historic inaugural tradition that spans more than two centuries.
BASTON: Last night, a breathtaking moment of national unity honored the over 400,000 lives lost to COVID-19. Thousands of people in cities and small towns participated from San Carlos Apache Reservation to Salley, South Carolina. From one World Trade Center to Wrigley Field, buildings and landmarks were illuminated. Church bells rang.
And in Washington, D.C., Cardinal Wilton Daniel Gregory offered a blessing and 400 glowing lights surrounding the Lincoln Memorial reflecting pool sparked a nationwide flame. This national memorial to lives lost featured Lori Marie Key, a Detroit nurse whose voice encouraged her exhausted colleagues and a performance by Yolanda Adams.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We pray for those who have died and the families and loved ones that they left behind.
KAMALA HARRIS (D), VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We gather tonight a nation in mourning to pay tribute to the lives we have lost that we may be physically separated. We, the American people are united in spirit. And my abiding hope, my abiding prayer is that we emerge from this ordeal with a new wisdom.
BIDEN: I mean this from the bottom of my heart, for any angels in heaven, they're all nurses. We know from our family experience what you do, the courage, the pain you absorb for others. So, thank you. To heal, we must remember, it's important to do that as a nation, let us shine the lights in the darkness along the sacred pool of reflection. Remember all who we lost.
SARAH FULLER, ATHLETE: I'm Sarah Fuller. I faced a lot of challenges as a goalkeeper on the Vanderbilt University women's soccer team and as a kicker on the football team, but seeing other women break barriers and be the first to what they do inspired me and gave me the strength to succeed. And that's why it is such an honor to introduce a true groundbreaker. And after 232 years of waiting, being able to say these words, our nation's first woman vice president, Vice President Kamala Harris.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ladies and gentlemen, the Vice President of the United States, Kamala D. Harris.
HARRIS: Good evening. It is my honor to be here to stand on the shoulders of those who came before. To speak tonight as your vice president. In many ways, this moment embodies our character as a nation. It demonstrates who we are, even in dark times. We not only dream, we do. We not only see what has been, we see what can be.
We shoot for the moon and then we plant our flag on it. We are bold, fearless, and ambitious. We are undaunted in our belief that we shall overcome, that we will rise up. This is American aspiration. In the middle of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln saw a better future and built it with land grant colleges and the transcontinental railroad in the middle of the civil rights movement, Dr. King fought for racial justice and economic justice.
American aspiration is what drove the women of this nation throughout history to demand equal rights and the authors of the Bill of Rights.
To claim freedoms that had rarely been written down before. A great experiment takes great determination. The will to do the work and then the wisdom to keep refining, keep tinkering, keep perfecting. The same determination is being realized in America today.
I see it in the scientists who are transforming the future. I see it in the parents who are nurturing generations to come and the innovators and the educators and everyone everywhere who is building a better life for themselves, their families, and their communities. This too is American aspiration.
This is what President Joe Biden has called upon us to summon now. The courage to see beyond crisis, to do what is hard, to do what is good, to unite, to believe in ourselves, believe in our country, believe in what we can do together. Thank you and may God bless America.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And now John Legend.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: More inspiring stories are coming up on celebrating America.
HANKS: The celebration of America continues. During the past year, as the pandemic exploded across the country, our nation's doctors and nurses put their lives on the line. Yes, they did, to keep us safe and to tend to our ailments. The toll of these weeks of 24-hour shifts was brutal on our medical professionals. There were only human, but they found inventive ways to cope with superhuman demands. BIDEN: This crisis has showed the nation we literally couldn't survive without you. I mean that sincerely. You've been protecting our communities for months, being called on once again as the virus surges across the nation. But I want to thank you for everything you're doing to keep communities safe. That's not hyperbole, you're heroes.
SANDRA LINDSAY, ICU NURSE, NORTHWELL HEALTH: I'm Sandra Lindsay, an ICU nurse at Northwell Health in New York and the first American to officially get the COVID vaccine. Our nurses care for thousands of COVID patients daily. We're often the.
Last people to hold their hands. It has taken a toll on so many of us on the front lines. But I'm proud of our work and honored to represent millions of health care workers around the country. And now from Nashville, here are Tyler Hubbard and Tim McGraw.
TYLER HUBBARD, SINGER: To Sandra Lindsay and all of our health care and front-line workers, thank you. When I was in quarantine with COVID-19, I've got to take a good, hard look at myself, inspired by my faith in God to reunite our country. I wrote this song and I sent it to Tim.
TIM MCGRAW, SINGER: The song's message of unity and faith stirred my soul and tonight, especially as we look across the river at our strong, resilient, beautiful city of Nashville. We're honored to sing it for everyone.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Next, Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama and will be inside the White House for our finale, celebrating America.
WASHINGTON: Despite the obstacles of the past year, we've seen Americans support each other time and time again. Today's Parade Across America, a virtual road show featuring people from across the country, paid a tribute to just some of these American heroes on the front lines of the pandemic united to celebrate this hopeful day.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello, America.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are honored to be here today.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to be here today to make American history again.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's get United American.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Like America, we come from all over, but really, we are one united team.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're united.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Inaudible).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Our American spirit allows us to have hope.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Inaudible).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We all believe that we are better when we unite together.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: America born.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We salute our Commander-in-Chief, Joseph R. Biden.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: First woman, vice president, Vice President Kamala Harris.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She's the honor of our lives.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: An event that connects and unite American.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Liberty, equality, and justice for all.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All across America.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Shine on.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No matter who you are or where you're from.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Inspire others to change the world.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bring joy and hope.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let's get United America.
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HANKS: Now it's my honor to introduce three people to offer their reflections on what today meant to them and to our great country. Here our presidents, Bill Clinton, George Bush, and Barack Obama.
BARACK OBAMA, 44TH U.S. PRESIDENT: Well, good evening, America. Obviously, there was a personal element to see my former vice president become the 46th president, to see Kamala Harris as our first woman vice president. But more broadly, I think inaugurations signal a tradition of a peaceful transfer of power that is over two centuries old.
GEORGE W. BUSH, 43RD U.S. PRESIDENT: Well, I think the fact that the three of us are standing here talking about a peaceful transfer of power speaks to the institutional integrity of our country.
BILL CLINTON, 42ND U.S. PRESIDENT: So, this is an unusual thing. We are both trying to come back to normalcy, deal with totally abnormal challenges and do what we do best, which is, try to make a more perfect union. It's exciting time.
OBAMA: We've got to not just listen to folks we agree with but listen to folks we don't. And one of my fondest memories of the inauguration was the grace and generosity that President Bush showed me, and Laura Bush showed Michelle and it was a reminder that we can have fierce disagreements and yet recognize each other's common humanity and that as Americans, we have more in common than what separates us.
BUSH: I think if Americans would love their neighbor, like they would like to be loved themselves, a lot of their division in our society would end.
CLINTON: That's what this means. It's a new beginning and everybody needs to get off their high horse and reach out to their friends and neighbors and try to make it possible.
OBAMA: If, in fact, as George said, we're looking for what binds us together, the American people are strong, they're tough, they can get through hardship and there's no problem they can't solve when we're working together. I think that was the theme, Joe's inaugural speech. And I think all of us discover that we're at our best when we're all moving in the same direction.
BUSH: America is a generous country with people with great hearts, all three of us were lucky to be the president of this country. Mr. President, I'm praying for your success. Your success is our country's success. And God bless you.
CLINTON: I'm glad you're there. And I wish you well. You had spoken for us today. Now you will lead for us and we're ready to march with you. Good luck. God bless.
OBAMA: Joe, I'm proud of you. And you and Kamala need to know that you've got all of us here rooting for your success, keeping you in our prayers. And we will be available in any ways that we can as citizens to help you guide our country forward. We wish you Godspeed.
HANKS: When our former presidents unite like that, much of the rest of the world must marvel at what America is. At what Americans can do. Well, now we'll celebrate more of America's doctors and nurses as they are joined by our friends and neighbors for a performance of Lovely Day in Los Angeles, here's.
HANKS: Oh, yes. Fireworks in the sky over our nation's capital. January 20th, 2021, this has been a uniquely historic Inauguration Day. Thanks to all of our performers, friends and neighbors who celebrated America with us. And once again, congratulations President Biden and Vice President Harris. Godspeed your efforts. From the Lincoln Memorial, good night, America.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Extraordinary fireworks display over Washington, D.C., as the celebration of the inauguration of President Biden comes to a close. Welcome back to our continuing coverage. An extraordinary display, not only of fireworks, but of star power coming out for this new administration, celebrating the United States, and celebrating clearly what they hope will be a big difference from the last administration. Van Jones.
VAN JONES, FORMER OBAMA ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Shock and awesome. After the rain, the rainbow, this is what you saw was a PSA advertising the America that we can be, the America that Biden is promising is available to us. And you've got a chance to see it. And the thing about moments like this, politics, it's about policy. It's about votes. It's also about the spirit of the country. And it's just a cultural dimension to this.
And what Biden was able to do tonight was to get the culture of the country online. And you had country, you had rap, you had every kind of cultural for saying this is who we want to be. And to me, it's been medicine all day long.