Joe Biden Quoted ‘American Anthem’ In His Inauguration Speech & The Lyrics Are Powerful

Joe Biden
Photo: AP Photo/Patrick Semansky.

If you watched the inauguration, you may want to know what the lyrics mean to “American Anthem,” the song Joe Biden’s inauguration speech quoted. Biden and Kamala Harris took the oath office as the 46th President and 49th President of the United States respectively on January 20, 2021.

Biden and Harris’ inauguration comes after they beat former President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence in the 2020 Presidential Election in November 2020. After Biden—who was the Vice President to former President Barack Obama—was sworn in, he gave a powerful speech about how the United States can move forward as a nation under the Biden-Harris administration.

In his speech, Biden quoted a song named “American Anthem,” which the public may be curious about. “A song that means a lot to me is called ‘American Anthem,'” Biden said. He went on to quote the following lyrics from “American Anthem” in his speech: “The work and prayers of century have brought us to this day. What shall be our legacy? What will our children say?…America, America, I gave my best to you.”

So what is “American Anthem” and who wrote it? “American Anthem” was released in 2007 as the theme music for the docuseries, The War, an eight-episode miniseries directed by Ken Burns about World War II. The song was written by Gene Scheer in 1998 and performed by Norah Jones, as well as a variety of other artists in 2006.

Read the full lyrics to “American Anthem.”

All we’ve been given

By those who came before

The dream of a nation

Where freedom would endure

The work and prayers

Of centuries

Have brought us to this day

What shall be our legacy?

What will our children say?

Let them say of me

I was one who believed

In sharing the blessings

I received

Let me know in my heart

When my days are through

America

America

I gave my best to you

Each generation from the plains

To distant shore with the gifts

What they were given

Were determined

To leave more

Valiant battles fought together

Acts of conscience fought alone

These are the seeds

From which America has grown

Let them say of me

I was one who believed

In sharing the blessings

I received

Let me know in my heart

When my days are through

America

America

I gave my best to you

For those who think

They have nothing to share

Who fear in their hearts

There is no hero there

Know each quiet act

Of dignity is

That which fortifies

The soul of a nation

That never dies

Let them say of me

I was one who believed

In sharing the blessings

I received

Let me know in my heart

When my days are through

America

America

I gave my best to you

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