12:18 p.m. After another quick podium wipe (still in a pandemic, y’all!) the youngest ever inaugural poet, 22-year-old Amanda Gorman, delivers her original composition, “The Hill We Climb,” speaking about being “a skinny Black girl descended from slaves and raised by a single mother” who “can dream of becoming president only to find herself reciting for one.” Gorman (wearing jewelry gifted from Oprah Winfrey) said she researched speeches by Abraham Lincoln and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. but ultimately it was the Jan. 6 Capitol riots that had the most impact. “That was the day that the poem really came to life,” she said on CBS This Morning. “And I really put pedal to the metal.” Within minutes, her Twitter account gets a spike as some 90,000 fans click “follow.”
12:25 p.m. Reverend Doctor Silvester Beaman delivers the Benediction praying for “divine favor” upon President Biden, Dr. Biden, Vice President Harris and Emhoff: “More than ever, they and our nation need you.”
12:30 p.m. And that’s a wrap! Armed forces retire the national colors and President Biden, Vice President Harris and their spouses exit the platform to get to work—but not without another hug with the Obamas and a few words with former presidents Bush and Clinton.
12:45 p.m. Harris and Emhoff chat with outgoing Vice President and Second Lady Pence before they climb in their waiting SUV, waving to the crowd as they finish their administration.