A new day

1/21/2021, 6 p.m.
We revel in the glow surrounding the Jan. 20 inauguration of President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Vice President Kamala ...

We revel in the glow surrounding the Jan. 20 inauguration of President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Vice President Kamala Harris, and the historic “firsts” it represents for our nation: Vice President Harris, the highest-ranking woman ever elected in U.S. government; the first woman vice president in the nation’s history; the first African-American and first South Asian ever to become vice president.

Vice President Harris, a 56-year-old Howard University graduate, attorney and member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, is inspiring females of all ages.

So is Amanda Gorman, the 22-year-old Harvard University alumna, who offered a thoughtful and poignant inaugural poem during the ceremony ushering in a new day and hopefully better time in our nation’s history.

Here is Ms. Gorman’s poem:

“The Hill We Climb”

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 braved the belly of the beast.

We’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace, and the

norms and notions of what “just” is isn’t always justice. And yet the dawn is ours before we knew it. Somehow we do it.

Somehow we weathered and witnessed a nation that

isn’t broken, but simply unfinished.

We, the successors of a country and a time where a

skinny Black girl descended from slaves and raised by a single mother can dream of becoming president, only to find herself reciting for one.

And, yes, we are far from polished, far from pristine, but that doesn’t mean we are striving to form a union that is perfect.

We are striving to forge our union with purpose.

To compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and conditions of man.

And so we lift our gaze, 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 arms so we can reach out our arms to 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 be-

cause we will never again sow division.

Scripture tells us to envision that everyone shall sit

under their own vine and fig tree, and 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 into and how we repair it.

We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation, rather than share it.

Would destroy our country if it meant delaying de- mocracy.

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 redemption.

We feared at its inception.

We did not feel prepared to be the heirs of such a ter-

rifying hour.

But within it we found the power to 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 around or interrupted by intimida- tion because we know our inaction and inertia will be the inheritance of the next generation, become the future.

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 country better than the one we were left.

Every breath from my bronze-pounded chest, we will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one.

We will rise from the golden 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 Mid- western states.

We will rise from the sun-baked South.

We will rebuild, reconcile and recover.

And every known nook of our nation and every corner

called our country, our people diverse and beautiful, will emerge battered and beautiful.

When day comes, we step out of the shade of flame and unafraid.

The new dawn balloons 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.