The biggest security effort to protect an inauguration in American history paid off as President Joe Biden concluded his five-decade-long journey to become the leader of the free world.
At the swearing-in, no one from the public was allowed in front of the Capitol — a dramatic change from the past.
“It is sad that we basically had to set up Washington D.C., our nation's Capitol, as a fortress — a nearly impenetrable fortress — so I feel safe, but I feel sad that we had to attend an inauguration under these conditions," South Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz said.
The 25,000 National Guard troops that had been assigned to Washington had shut down any street entrance to the National Mall, Capitol, and White House days ago.
The Capitol Police, Secret Service, and National Guard couldn’t do it by themselves. They relied on local police officers like those from Miami-Dade who helped secure the parade route, as well as officers from Miami Beach and Coral Gables.
When Biden was being driven to Arlington National Cemetery, the street was not only shut down, but concrete barricades had been put up on both sides, and 8-foot-high fences prevented anyone from getting into the street — a safe corridor for a single drive.
The president will be inside the White House most of Wednesday but will step out to see fireworks at the end of what the he declared is a national day of unity.