PHOTOS: Biden, Harris Assume Office During Unique Inauguration Ceremony : The Picture Show After an insurrection and in the midst of a pandemic, there was much that was different about the 59th Inauguration. But there was also much that followed precedent. Here are some images from the day.
NPR logo PHOTOS: Biden, Harris Assume Office During Unique Inauguration Ceremony

PHOTOS: Biden, Harris Assume Office During Unique Inauguration Ceremony

President Biden, first lady Jill Biden, Vice President Harris and second gentleman Doug Emhoff attend a Pass in Review ceremony, hosted by the Joint Task Force-National Capital Region on the East Front of the U.S. Capitol after the inauguration ceremony on Wednesday. Joe Raedle/Getty Images hide caption

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Joe Raedle/Getty Images

President Biden, first lady Jill Biden, Vice President Harris and second gentleman Doug Emhoff attend a Pass in Review ceremony, hosted by the Joint Task Force-National Capital Region on the East Front of the U.S. Capitol after the inauguration ceremony on Wednesday.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

There have been inaugurals in times of national crisis, in times of war and in times of bitter dissension. But much about the 59th Inauguration was nonetheless unique: The small number of attendees seated far apart in masks; the absence of the incumbent president two weeks following an insurrection he encouraged; the first woman elected as vice president. And yet much was still familiar: The new president recited the oath of office as it appears in the Constitution, as has been done every four years since 1789.

Here are some images of a day that both shattered precedent and reinforced it.

The U.S. Capitol is seen at sunrise on Wednesday, two weeks after it was stormed by a mob of pro-Trump extremists. Claire Harbage/NPR hide caption

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Claire Harbage/NPR

The U.S. Capitol is seen at sunrise on Wednesday, two weeks after it was stormed by a mob of pro-Trump extremists.

Claire Harbage/NPR

President Trump and first lady Melania Trump board Marine One as they depart the White House on Wednesday. The Trumps did not attend the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. Eric Thayer/Getty Images hide caption

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Eric Thayer/Getty Images

President Trump and first lady Melania Trump board Marine One as they depart the White House on Wednesday. The Trumps did not attend the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.

Eric Thayer/Getty Images

Members of the National Guard stand at a downtown checkpoint in Washington, D.C. Tyrone Turner/WAMU hide caption

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Tyrone Turner/WAMU

Members of the National Guard stand at a downtown checkpoint in Washington, D.C.

Tyrone Turner/WAMU

President-elect Joe Biden and incoming first lady Jill Biden attend Mass at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington, D.C. Jim Watson/Getty Images hide caption

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President-elect Joe Biden and incoming first lady Jill Biden attend Mass at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington, D.C.

Jim Watson/Getty Images

A few people gather in downtown Washington, D.C., near the fenced-off parade route on Pennsylvania Ave. on Wednesday morning. Claire Harbage/NPR hide caption

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Claire Harbage/NPR

A few people gather in downtown Washington, D.C., near the fenced-off parade route on Pennsylvania Ave. on Wednesday morning.

Claire Harbage/NPR

Leslie Lopez, 18, from California, shows off her pins showing President Biden and Vice President Harris outside a restaurant in Washington, D.C. Claire Harbage/NPR hide caption

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Claire Harbage/NPR

Leslie Lopez, 18, from California, shows off her pins showing President Biden and Vice President Harris outside a restaurant in Washington, D.C.

Claire Harbage/NPR

National Guard and security personnel patrol the National Mall, which has a display of nearly 200,000 flags to represent the people who could not attend the inauguration ceremonies because of the pandemic. Elizabeth Gillis/NPR hide caption

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Elizabeth Gillis/NPR

National Guard and security personnel patrol the National Mall, which has a display of nearly 200,000 flags to represent the people who could not attend the inauguration ceremonies because of the pandemic.

Elizabeth Gillis/NPR

Lady Gaga sings the national anthem at the 59th Presidential Inauguration.. Saul Loeb/Getty Images hide caption

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Saul Loeb/Getty Images

Lady Gaga sings the national anthem at the 59th Presidential Inauguration..

Saul Loeb/Getty Images

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor administers the oath of office to Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images hide caption

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Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor administers the oath of office to Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.

Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

U.S. Marines stand outside the Capitol building on Inauguration Day. Elizabeth Gillis/NPR hide caption

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Elizabeth Gillis/NPR

U.S. Marines stand outside the Capitol building on Inauguration Day.

Elizabeth Gillis/NPR

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts administers the oath of office to President-elect Joe Biden. Daniel Acker/Getty Images hide caption

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Daniel Acker/Getty Images

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts administers the oath of office to President-elect Joe Biden.

Daniel Acker/Getty Images

Poet Amanda Gorman recites her inaugural poem, "The Hill We Climb," at the 59th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, D.C. Daniel Acker/Getty Images hide caption

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Daniel Acker/Getty Images

Poet Amanda Gorman recites her inaugural poem, "The Hill We Climb," at the 59th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, D.C.

Daniel Acker/Getty Images

President Joe Biden gives his Inaugural speech. Elizabeth Gillis/NPR hide caption

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Elizabeth Gillis/NPR

President Joe Biden gives his Inaugural speech.

Elizabeth Gillis/NPR

President Biden speaks on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol. Getty Images hide caption

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President Biden speaks on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol.

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Kiersten Vicknair, 20, from Dallas, celebrates on Inauguration Day with a small crowd gathered in Washington, D.C. Tyrone Turner/WAMU hide caption

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Kiersten Vicknair, 20, from Dallas, celebrates on Inauguration Day with a small crowd gathered in Washington, D.C.

Tyrone Turner/WAMU

Ariana Avalos, 24, stands behind sisters Cynthia Cortez, 21, left, and Teresa Cortez, 19, in downtown Washington, D.C. All three came from California to watch the inauguration. Claire Harbage/NPR hide caption

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Claire Harbage/NPR

Ariana Avalos, 24, stands behind sisters Cynthia Cortez, 21, left, and Teresa Cortez, 19, in downtown Washington, D.C. All three came from California to watch the inauguration.

Claire Harbage/NPR

Members of the National Guard walking through Black Lives Matter Plaza to switch shifts with other members after President Biden inauguration ceremony ended in Washington D.C. Eman Mohammed for NPR hide caption

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Eman Mohammed for NPR

Members of the National Guard walking through Black Lives Matter Plaza to switch shifts with other members after President Biden inauguration ceremony ended in Washington D.C.

Eman Mohammed for NPR

Pro-immigration reform activists hold a banner during the inauguration ceremony in Washington, D.C. Tyrone Turner/WAMU hide caption

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Tyrone Turner/WAMU

Pro-immigration reform activists hold a banner during the inauguration ceremony in Washington, D.C.

Tyrone Turner/WAMU

Biden and Harris participate in a wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va. Former President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle, former President George W. Bush and his wife Laura and former President Bill Clinton and his wife former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton look on. Evan Vucci/AP hide caption

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Evan Vucci/AP

Biden and Harris participate in a wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va. Former President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle, former President George W. Bush and his wife Laura and former President Bill Clinton and his wife former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton look on.

Evan Vucci/AP

Di'Amond Moore is a photo editing intern at NPR.