January 21, 2021 10:33:40 AM
By their very nature, Presidential Inaugurations are historically significant, continuing a tradition of a peaceful transition of power unknown to the world when that transfer was first completed in 1797.
On March 4 of that year, John Adams was sworn in as the nation's second president at a time when it wasn't entirely clear that a president would ever be required to relinquish office.
Over the years, history has proven that some inaugurations are more meaningful than others - Abraham Lincoln in 1861, Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933, John F. Kennedy in 1963.
Even when our nation faced its greatest challenges - whether domestic or foreign, the tradition of a peaceful transfer power has continued.
In future generations, Wednesday's Inauguration will be remembered for two things: First, it endured the greatest challenge of the transfer of power since Lincoln' first inauguration. Two weeks before Joe Biden was inaugurated as our 46th President, insurrectionists stormed the Capitol in a bid to overturn the election and keep Donald Trump in office.
But Wednesday's inauguration will have an historical significance of a far more positive and inspiring dimension, too.
On that day, Kamala Harris was sworn in as Vice President, the highest elected position ever to be held by a woman in our country.
Harris' elevation to that position must be viewed in context to fully appreciate its significance.
The story began in 1848 when a group of women met in Seneca Falls, New York, establishing the country's Suffrage Movement.
It took 71 years for that dream to be realized, when the 19th Amendment to the Constitution provided women the right to vote.
As for the vice presidency, two women had legitimate chances to attain the office -- Democrat Geraldine Ford in 1984 and Republican Sarah Palin in 2008.
We note, too, that Hillary Clinton became the first woman nominated by a major party for the Presidency, losing the Electoral College vote despite winning the popular vote by some three million votes in 2016.
It is against that historical backdrop that we view Harris' ascension to the second highest office in the land.
Before Wednesday, it was only "possible" for a woman to rise to such a position. On Wednesday, that became a reality. A new generation of girls knows a woman can be vice president because it has been done.
It is a practical reality.
It is our hope that future generations of women will be inspired to serve -- whether it be in local, state or even national office -- by what happened Wednesday.
Someday, perhaps in the near future, our nation will take the next step. We will have a woman president, too.
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