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On this day in 2021

Jan. 6, 2021 

Amanda Gorman delivers her poem after the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Credit: Wikipedia

Amanda Gorman was trying to finish her poem on national unity when scenes burst upon the television of insurrectionists attacking the U.S. Capitol. 

The 22-year-old stayed up late, writing new lines into the night. Two weeks later, she became the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history, joining a prestigious group that included Maya Angelou and Robert Frost. But few faced as difficult a task, searching for unity amid violence, a deadly pandemic and polarizing partisanship. 

She described herself as a “skinny Black girl, descended from slaves and raised by a single mother,” who can dream of being president one day, “only to find herself reciting for one.” 

She shared the words she wrote in the wake of the nation’s first attack on the Capitol in more than two centuries:

“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 the wake of the attack that resulted in five deaths and injuries to 138 officers, she penned that the nation would endure:


Somehow we’ve weathered and witnessed

a nation that isn’t broken

but simply unfinished

She reminded those present that “history has its eyes on us” and that this nation will indeed rise again:

“We will rebuild, reconcile and recover

And every known nook of our nation and

Every corner called our country,

Our people diverse and beautiful will emerge,

Battered and beautiful…

For there is always light,

If only we’re brave enough to see it

If only we’re brave enough to be it”


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