American aspiration: We shoot for the moon, then plant our flag, says Kamala Harris in her first remarks to the nation as US Vice President
PIC: AFP

In her first remarks to the nation as US Vice President, Kamala Harris has highlighted "American aspiration" and underlined that President Joe Biden has summoned the people to look beyond crisis and aspire to unite.

Harris, 56, made history on Wednesday when she was sworn in as the first female, first black and first Asian-American US vice-president. The former senator was sworn in just before Biden took the oath of office to become the 46th US President.

"In many ways this moment embodies our character as a nation. It demonstrates who we are, even in dark times. We, not only dream, we do. We not only see what has been, we see what can be.

"We shoot for the moon, and then we plant our flag on it. We are bold, fearless and ambitious. We are undaunted, in our belief that we shall overcome, that we will rise up. This is American aspiration," Harris said outside the Lincoln Memorial.

She cited the accomplishments of President Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War, who "saw a better future and built it with land grant colleges, and the transcontinental railroad." She also highlighted how Martin Luther King Jr fought for racial and economic justice.

"In the middle of the civil rights movement, Dr King fought for racial justice and economic justice. American Aspiration is what drove the women of this nation, throughout history, to demand equal rights," Harris said addressing 'Celebrating America', a primetime special that wrapped up a busy day of Biden-Harris inauguration events.

Harris said a great experiment takes great determination. The will to do the work and then the wisdom to keep refining, keep tinkering, keep perfecting.

The same determination is being realised in America today, she noted.

"I see it in the scientists who are transforming the future. I see it in the parents who are nurturing generations to come and in the innovators, the educators, in everyone, everywhere who is building a better life for themselves, their families and their communities.

"This too is American aspiration. This is what President Joe Biden has called upon us to summon now. The courage to see beyond crisis, to do what is hard, to do what is good, to unite, to believe in ourselves, believe in our country, believe in what we can do together," Harris said.

In his remarks, Biden said the nation faces difficult challenges, but he is optimistic that the country can meet them.

"We've learned again that democracy is precious, and because of you, democracy has prevailed...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: Opportunity, liberty, dignity and respect. And unite against common foes: Hate, violence, disease and hopelessness," he said.

"The question is: are we up to it? Will we meet the moment like our forebears have? I believe we must, and I believe we will," Biden said.

The 'Celebrating America' event showcased the American people's resilience, heroism and unified commitment to coming together as a nation to heal and rebuild.

Hosted by Tom Hanks and featuring appearances by Eva Longoria and Kerry Washington, the 90-minute programme included performances at iconic locations across the country by Foo Fighters, John Legend, Lin Manuel Miranda, Bruce Springsteen, Demi Lovato, Justin Timberlake, Ant Clemons and Jon Bon Jovi.

Prior to taking the oath at the US Capitol, Harris paid tribute to the women who she says came before her.

"I stand on their shoulders," she said in a video.

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