Puerto Rico’s Contributions to the Inauguration

Puerto Rico has been a possession of the United States for more than a century. Many people from Puerto Rico have doubtless attended and been involved in presidential inaugurations in the past (Ricky Martin performed at George Bush’s ceremony in 2001, for example). But Puerto Rico had a particularly good showing at the Biden-Harris inauguration last week.

National Guard of Puerto Rico

Members of the National Guard came from all the states and territories to provide security for the inauguration, which took place just two weeks after an armed mob stormed the capitol.

The Puerto Rico National Guard sent at least 140 soldiers to Washington. It is ironic that these soldiers did not have the opportunity to vote for their Commander in Chief.

The ceremony

Vice President Kamala Harris, wearing a pearl necklace custom made for the event by Puerto Rican designer Wilfredo Rosado, was sworn in by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, whose parents were born in Puerto Rico.

Jennifer Lopez sang “This Land Is Your Land” by folk singer Woody Guthrie, in a medley with “America the Beautiful.” The section of “America the Beautiful” which she sang is a prayer for brotherhood. “This Land Is Your Land” is a song of unity in America.

This land is your land and this land is my land
From California to the New York island
From the redwood forest to the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and me

She completed the performance with words from the pledge of allegiance in Spanish.

One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Lopez’s parents also came from Puerto Rico. There are currently approximately 5.6 million U.S. citizens of Puerto Rican heritage living in the states, and about 3.2 million in Puerto Rico.

Music and dance

In addition to Ms. Lopez, there were a number of other Puerto Rican musicians performing at the inauguration. This was the first time that every state and territory was included in the marching band and dance performances.

Puerto Rico was represented by Royalty Winterguard, Centenaria Banda Colegial from University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez, Latin Power Dance & Arts, and Banda Macaná de Guayanilla.

Including Puerto Rico

There were also symbolic inclusions. For the first time, the inclusion of marching bands from every state and territory was prioritized. The territories were also included in other elements which do not always look beyond the states.

There were 56 pillars of light at the “Field of Flags” to commemorate each state, territory, and district belonging to the United States. Puerto Rican flags were also displayed at the Field of Flags.

 

We hope that the strong inclusion of Puerto Rico in the inauguration is a sign that Puerto Rico will not be overlooked by the new administration.

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