Tom Hanks Opens Joe Biden's Inaugural TV Special With Powerful Message of Unity

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Tom Hanks
SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

Tom Hanks is leading the nation with a powerful reflection on the importance of unity and our democracy. The 64-year-old actor hosted President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris' Inauguration Day TV special, Celebrating America, and brought his trademark gravitas and comforting oration to the grand occasion.

"I'm at the Lincoln Memorial, on the National Mall, in our nation's secured capital city," a stoic Hanks shared from the steps of the iconic landmark. "The last few weeks, last few years, we've witnessed deep divisions and a troubling rancor in our land. But tonight we ponder the United States of America. The practice of our democracy, the foundations of our republic, the integrity of our constitution, the hope and dreams we all share for a more perfect union."

"Inauguration Day is about much more than the swearing in of our next national leaders. This day is about witnessing the permanence of our American ideal," Hanks continued. "Every four years we hear the words that will empower us all on the journey ahead, the message that can unite us, as we begin a new passage from where we are to where we can be. A trek to a common goal, to the promise of our promised land."

Hanks' powerful statements introduced a special readings of inaugural remarks from past presidents including Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan.

Later in the special, Hanks had the honor of introducing President Biden, who made his first public remarks since his powerful inaugural address Wednesday morning.

"It is humbling to stand here in this place in front of these sacred words. Humbling out of respect to President Lincoln and the office we now share and humbling because of you, the American people. As I said earlier today, we have learned again that democracy is precious and because of you democracy has prevailed," Biden shared.

"This is a great nation. We're a good people and [to] overcome the challenges in front of us requires the most elusive of all things in a democracy — unity. It requires us to come together in common love that defines us as Americans," he added.

Hanks had a lot of help in making Biden's big day a memorable one. In addition to the Oscar winner's hosting duties, John Legend, Tim McGraw, Florida Georgia Line's Tyler Hubbard, Foo Fighters, Bruce Springsteen, Justin TimberlakeDemi LovatoJon Bon Jovi and Ant Clemons all performed during Celebrating America. 

Also on Wednesday, Lady Gaga performed "The Star Spangled Banner" at the swearing-in ceremony, while Jennifer Lopez and Garth Brooks both gave special performances.

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