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As part of Wednesday’s ongoing inauguration events, Scandal star Tony Goldwyn hosted a virtual “Parade Across America,” featuring a range of performances from around the country.
“Although as individual citizens we have our differences, more in some moments than others, one bond that unites us as Americans, especially today, is our belief in our enduring democracy,” said the actor, director and producer, who played President Fitzgerald Grant for seven seasons on the ABC show. Goldwyn, speaking from an off-site studio space, proceeded to guide the audience through the presidential escort of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris to the White House.
Meanwhile on NBC’s coverage, Savannah Guthrie and Lester Holt checked in with Al Roker on the ground during the procession, who said he’d try to get Biden to wave or say a hello to mimic a memorable moment between the two in 2013. When Biden walked by, Roker drew Biden in for a fist bump, which quickly turned into a viral moment.
Biden’s and Harris’ arrival marked the start of the virtual parade, which the Presidential Inaugural Committee enlisted Jon Stewart to kick off. Appearing via video against a backdrop of trees, Stewart said, “It’s been a tough year — a pandemic, economic downturn, political division, social unrest — but we need to remember this: That every day, you may not be hearing about it on the news, you may not be seeing it on the internet, but there are millions of unsung American heroes who are keeping our nation going, caring for our loved ones, teaching our kids, keeping us all connected, making us smile, reminding us about what it is to truly be an American and what is great about America. That’s what this day is about, an America united by our commitment to each other.”
Stewart then interviewed “the TikTok doc,” Oregon Dr. Jason Campbell about the significance of the day and joked, “I look forward to the pandemic being over so that you and I may join a breakdancing crew together.” The former Daily Show host then announced the start of the event, noting its virtual aspect “for the first time in our nation’s history and God willing, the last time we won’t be able to be together,” before throwing it back to Goldwyn in studio.
“I played a president on TV a few years ago and I never got a parade from Shonda Rhimes that was anything like you’re going to see today,” quipped Goldwyn before starting the wave of video messages from across the country.
The virtual parade featured musical performances from Andra Day (singing hit “Rise Up,”) rock band The New Radicals and DJ Cassidy’s virtual “Pass the Mic,” cutting across the country to songs from Earth Wind & Fire, Nile Rodgers, Kathy Sledge, the Trans Chorus of Los Angeles, the Washington Chorus and the Triumph Baptist Church Choir. Olympic athletes Nathan Chen, Allyson Felix and Katie Ledecky and TikTok breakout Nathan Apodaca made appearances, and the University of Delaware Drumline and the Howard University Drumline — the alma maters of the newly elected leaders — were also among the acts. Amid the pandemic, essential workers were highlighted, as well as representation from a diverse group of American cultures and military branches.
A “Dance Across America” segment closed out the parade, with 275 participants from 30 states and two territories dancing in iconic settings across the country, led by director and choreographer Kenny Ortega.
The event was live-streamed at BidenInaugural.org/watch and on the Inaugural Committee’s social media platforms. Amazon Prime Video, Microsoft Bing, NewsNOW from Fox, AT&T U-verse and DirecTV also carried the program live.
The parade joined the day’s full lineup of inauguration events, which started with the morning’s swearing-in ceremony and performances from Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez and Garth Brooks. Tonight, Tom Hanks will host star-studded primetime special Celebrating America, featuring performances by Jon Bon Jovi, Justin Timberlake, Demi Lovato, Ant Clemons and remarks by Biden and Harris. The special will air at 8:30 p.m. across five TV networks (ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN and MSNBC) and on the Inaugural Committee’s YouTube and social media channels, Amazon Prime Video, Twitch and Fox’s NewsNOW.
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