78-yr-old Joe Biden will be oldest US president to take oath
With a promise to 'heal' America, which in recent months witnessed a chaotic election and messy transition of power, Joseph R Biden will take the oath to become the 46th president of the United States on Wednesday.
Biden, who is known around the world for his stint as the vice president during the Obama administration, will be the oldest person ever sworn in as president of the country. He turned 78 in November 2020.
President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will be sworn in at the West Front of the US capitol during the 59th Presidential Inauguration ceremony.
Biden's inauguration is taking place under the shadow of the unprecedented health crisis and protests in the US.
The security in the capital has been beefed up amid a high level of security concerns following the January 6 Capitol riots.
In his victory speech in his hometown, Wilmington, Delaware in November, Biden pledged to unite the country as he called it 'a time to heal in America'. "I pledge to be a president who seeks not to divide, but to unify; who doesn't see red states and blue states, only sees the United States," Biden said.
Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr. was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania in 1942 and moved to Delaware as a child.
At age 29, Biden became one of the youngest people ever elected to the United States Senate. Weeks later, tragedy struck the Biden family when his wife Neilia and daughter Naomi were killed and sons Hunter and Beau critically injured in an auto accidentBiden was sworn into the US Senate at his sons' hospital bedside and began commuting from Wilmington to Washington every day. For five years, he raised Beau and Hunter as a single father, with the help of his sister Valerie and his family.
Biden married again five years after Neilia's death, to his current wife Jill. The couple married on June 17, 1977, at the United Nations Chapel in New York City and has one daughter together, Ashley Blazer, who was born in 1981.
The 2020 race marked Biden's third attempt at running for President. He first tried in 1988 but dropped out after allegations of plagiarism. He ended his second attempt in 2008 after garnering less than one per cent in the crucial Iowa caucuses.
Biden served as vice president in the former president Barack Obama administration for two terms from 2008 to 2016. Biden and Obama developed a close friendship from what had initially been a more strategic pairing, with Biden credited for using his working-class roots, folksy flourishes and experience to help shore up support for the country's first Black president from older white Americans in key northern swing states, said Al Jazeera.
It is anticipated there will be roughly 1,000 guests in attendance, the majority of whom will be members of Congress and their guests during the event today. US President Donald Trump has said he will not be joining Biden at the inauguration.
It's customary for an outgoing president and other former presidents to sit behind a new president, symbolising the peaceful transfer of power. Biden called Trump's decision not to attend "one of the few things he and I have ever agreed on."As Joe Biden will take the helm of America, challenges await him that require immediate attention including coronavirus and racial tensions.
The nation is struggling under the human and economic toll of a pandemic that has killed more than 380,000 Americans. Racial tensions, exacerbated by the departing president to whom they were weapons in his arsenal of disunion, remain to be addressed and healed.