A highlight of the inauguration came thanks to poet Amanda Gorman. While she follows in other poets’ footsteps, such as Maya Angelou and Robert Frost, who have participated in inaugurations over the years, the 22-year-old is the youngest to ever take part. The National Youth Poet Laureate recited a poem she has written over the last couple of weeks called “The Hill We Climb.”  The New York Times writes that she “set out to write a poem that would inspire hope and foster a sense of collective purpose, at a moment when Americans are reeling from a deadly pandemic, political violence and partisan division.” She was partway through the piece when she witnessed the horrific events at the Capitol on January 6th. She ended up incorporating her thoughts surrounding the day into the poem. Here’s an excerpt:

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

Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy.

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.

Watch her recite the full poem above.