Joe Biden has sworn the oath of office to become the 46th president of the United States, declaring that “democracy has prevailed.”
History was made at his side, as Kamala Harris became the first woman to be vice president. The former U.S. senator from California is also the first Black person and the first person of South Asian descent elected to the vice presidency and will become the highest-ranking woman ever to serve in government.
The two were sworn in during an inauguration ceremony with few parallels in history.
Instead of a parade down Pennsylvania Avenue, there will be a memorial at Arlington National Cemetery. Instead of balls, there will be Zoom parties. And instead of hundreds of thousands congregating on the Capitol grounds and on the National Mall, there are thousands of National Guard members.
Inauguration Day Analysis
Follow below for latest developments on Biden's inauguration:
Former Presidents Wish Biden Well in Video Message
Three former presidents are celebrating the transition of power that saw Democrat Joe Biden enter the White House.
In a pretaped video that aired during Biden’s inaugural television special Wednesday night, Republican George W. Bush, along with Democrats Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, wished Biden luck.
Obama said, “Inaugurations celebrate a tradition of a peaceful transfer of power that is over two centuries old.” But the mere fact that all three felt compelled to come together to address the issue speaks to the fraught moment the country faces.
President Donald Trump repeatedly and falsely insisted for months that the November election was stolen from him, and he whipped up a violent crowd of supporters who stormed the U.S. Capitol two weeks ago seeking to overturn the certification of Biden win. He also snubbed his successor's inauguration.
In the video, Clinton urged Americans to get off their “high horses” and reach out to friends and neighbors with whom they may have differences. Bush said he wanted Biden to be successful because his “success is our country’s success.”
VP Talks Up 'American Aspiration' in 1st Speech
Kamala Harris talked about the power of “American aspiration” in her first speech to the nation as vice president.
With the Washington Monument lit up behind her Wednesday night, Harris called on Americans to remember “we are undaunted in our belief that we shall overcome, that we will rise up.”
She also cast her ascension as the first female vice president as a demonstration of the nation’s character.
Borrowing a line she frequently used on the campaign trail, she said, “We not only see what has been — we see what can be.”
Harris gave a nod to American scientists, parents and teachers who are persevering through the coronavirus pandemic and encouraged people to “see beyond crises.” She spoke during President Joe Biden's “Celebrating America” event to mark the inauguration.
Psaki Delivers First News Briefing of Biden Era
White House press secretary Jen Psaki delivered the first news briefing of Joe Biden’s presidency, a once standard part of past administrations that was largely sidelined during the Trump era.
Psaki said Wednesday that she will bring truth and transparency to the White House briefing room, a clear reference to her predecessors under President Donald Trump.
The Trump administration took an openly combative tone with the news media. Sean Spicer, who was Trump’s first press secretary, set the tenor four years ago by claiming that the audience at Trump’s inauguration was the largest in history, despite photographic evidence to the contrary.
Biden Swears In Nearly 1,000 Federal Appointees, Staff
President Joe Biden is reminding his federal appointees and staff that “we work for the people” and is calling on them to be “decent, honorable and smart.”
Biden swore in nearly 1,000 federal appointees and staff in a virtual ceremony in the State Dining Room at the White House on Wednesday evening. He spoke from behind a lectern, while the appointees appeared at the event via video streams set up on a series of television screens.
Biden said that if any of his appointees treat a colleague with disrespect, he will fire them “on the spot.” He said that mindset had been missing in President Donald Trump’s White House.
The new president also told the group that “we have such an awful lot to do” and said that containing the pandemic and administering COVID-19 vaccines will be the “most consequential logistical thing that’s ever been done in the United States.”
He said he’s “going to make mistakes” but promised during their swearing-in that he will ”acknowledge them” when he does.
Biden Signs Numerous Executive Orders on First Day
President Joe Biden has signed a series of executive orders from the Oval Office hours after his inauguration.
Biden wore a mask while seated behind the Resolute Desk with a stack of orders early Wednesday evening. He said there was “no time to start like today.”
The first order Biden signed was related to the coronavirus pandemic. He also signed an order reentering the U.S. into the Paris climate accord.
While his predecessor Donald Trump broke long-standing practice by skipping Biden’s inauguration, he did follow through on one tradition and left behind a letter for Biden.
The new Democratic president said Trump “wrote a very generous letter.” But Biden said he wouldn’t reveal its contents until he had a chance to speak with Trump.
Biden Orders Federal Agencies to Halt Rulemaking
President Joe Biden has directed that federal agencies halt all rulemaking until his administration has time to review proposed regulations.
White House chief of staff Ron Klain announced the move in a memo to the heads of executive departments and agencies Wednesday afternoon, hours after Biden was sworn in as the nation's 46th president.
The regulatory freeze order is a staple of presidential transitions, allowing the incoming administration to review the pending actions of their predecessors.
Biden Enters White House for First Time as President
President Joe Biden has entered the White House for the first time as chief executive after walking an abbreviated parade route, still wearing his protective mask amid sounds of “Hail to the Chief.”
The 46th president and first lady Jill Biden walked through a military cordon lining the White House driveway with the flags of U.S. states, leading the first couple to the main entrance under the North Portico on Wednesday.
Biden was expected to immediately begin working, with a stack of executive orders on immigration and other matters awaiting his signature.
The final ceremonial flourish completed an abbreviated inaugural afternoon unlike any Washington has seen, with Biden being seen in person by only a relative smattering of Americans given security lockdowns after the Jan. 6 Capitol attack and public health protocols amid the ongoing pandemic.
Biden, Harris Pay Respects to Vets at Arlington
President Joe Biden has spent a few of the first moments of his term at Arlington National Cemetery, honoring fallen veterans with three former presidents and their families.
The president, first lady Jill Biden, and newly sworn-in Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, presided over a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider on Wednesday.
After cannon fire rumbled in the distance, Biden saluted as a military band played the national anthem.
Biden and Harris later briefly touched the wreath before bowing their heads in prayer. The president also made the sign of the cross, then he and Harris stood somberly for the playing of taps.
Joining them at the ceremony were former President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, former President George W. Bush and his wife, Laura and former President Bill Clinton and his wife, Hillary.
Biden, Harris Inspect Troops From Capitol Steps
President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have taken part in the traditional inaugural military tradition of “Pass in Review.”
Biden, Harris and their spouses stood Wednesday on the East Front steps of the U.S. Capitol to observe the procession of ceremonial military regiments.
Several groupings passed by the steps, with military members saluting the newly minted president and musicians playing traditional patriotic tunes.
The inaugural parade that typically follows was to be replaced by a virtual parade later in the day because of concerns amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Following the procession, the couples climbed into vehicles to travel to Arlington National Cemetery for a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. They were to be joined by the former presidents who attended the earlier inaugural ceremony.
Biden Signs First Declarations as President
President Joe Biden signed the first three proclamations of his presidency while in the President's Room at the Capitol.
Biden signed an Inauguration Day Proclamation, nominations to Cabinet positions and nominations to sub-Cabinet positions.
Bernie Sanders' Mittens Steal the Inauguration, Spark 'Grumpy Chic' Memes
With all of the pomp and circumstance surrounding President Joe Biden's inauguration on Wednesday, who would have thought that a certain Vermont senator's mittens would be captivating people's attention?
Yet Sen. Bernie Sanders' brown winter handwear was all over Twitter and Instagram on Wednesday. Sanders' grumpy chic outfit in lieu of a formal coat and dress gloves instantly became a meme trending on social media.
Congressional Leaders Present Biden, Harris With Gifts
Congressional leaders have presented President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris with a variety of gifts, including a pair of flags flown over the U.S. Capitol during the inauguration.
The presentations to the officials and their respective spouses happened Wednesday in lieu of a congressional luncheon that typically follows the inauguration ceremony.
Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota said Lenox had crafted a pair of commemorative vases for Biden and Harris, each weighing 32 pounds (14.5 kilograms).
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell gifted them with a pair of U.S. flags that were flown over the Capitol during the inauguration. McConnell noted that both Biden and Harris served in the Senate and “skipped the House altogether.”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer presented photos from Wednesday’s ceremony.
Republican Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri noted that the Smithsonian had loaned a painting titled “Landscape with Rainbow” by a notable Black painter from around the time of the Civil War.
Harris Gives Send Off to Pence on Capitol Steps
Vice President Kamala Harris has now taken on a role that would have typically been performed by the outgoing president.
Harris and her husband, second gentleman Doug Emhoff, stood on the U.S. Capitol steps Wednesday to bid farewell to her predecessor, former Vice President Mike Pence, and his wife, Karen.
The two couples stood and chatted for a few moments, even laughing, on the steps before the Pences got into a vehicle and were driven away.
President Donald Trump typically would have performed the sendoff for his second-in-command but opted to skip Wednesday’s inaugural festivities.
Trump and his wife, Melania, went straight from the White House to Joint Base Andrews earlier Wednesday. He gave a campaign-style farewell speech before boarding Air Force One for a final time as president and traveling to his home in Florida.
Pence opted not to attend that event, instead attending Biden’s inauguration.
Twitter, WhiteHouse.gov Complete Their Transfer of Power
The @POTUS handle has changed over to President Joe Biden and @VP has a new face in Vice President Kamala Harris.
These institutional accounts don’t belong any particular individual — they’re reserved for official government use by those in the current administration and were transferred
The WhiteHouse.gov website has also flipped to reflect the administration.
Biden Calls on Americans to Overcome Divisions: 'We Must End This Uncivil War'
President Joe Biden is calling on Americans to overcome their divisions, declaring in his first address in office that “without unity, there is no peace.”
Biden also pledged during his inaugural address Wednesday that he would be honest with the country as it continues to confront difficulties, saying that leaders have an obligation “to defend the truth and defeat the lies.”
"Politics doesn't have to be a raging fire, destroying everything in its path. Every disagreement doesn't have to be a cause for total war. And we must reject the culture in which facts themselves are manipulated, and even manufactured," he said.
He asked even those who did not vote for him to give him a chance. He said, “Hear me out as we move forward.”
As he did frequently during the campaign, Biden pledged that he will be a “president for all Americans” and will “fight as hard for those who did not support me as for those who did.”
He added, “We must end this uncivil war that pits red against blue.”
Biden: 'Democracy Has Prevailed'
President Joe Biden says “democracy has prevailed” in a country reeling amid a pandemic and a violent melee two weeks ago at the U.S. Capitol.
In his first remarks as president, Biden said Wednesday that his swearing-in marks a day of “history and hope.”
Biden said in his inaugural address that the country has “learned again that democracy is precious.”
He pledged to confront and defeat the rise of political extremism, white supremacy and domestic terrorism. But doing so will require unity, he added.
"This is our historic moment of crisis. And unity is the path forward. And we must meet this moment as the United States of America. If we do that, I guarantee you we will not fail. We have never, never, never, never failed in America when we acted together. So today, at this time, in this place, let's start fresh. Let's begin to listen to one another, hear one another, show respect to one another."
Biden also thanked his predecessors from both parties for attending Wednesday’s ceremonies.
Biden Sworn in as Nation's 46th President
Biden took the oath of office just before noon Wednesday during a ceremony at the U.S. Capitol. The presidential oath was administered by U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.
Biden was sworn in using a Bible that has been in his family since 1893 and was used during his swearing-in as vice president in 2009 and 2013. The 5-inch thick Bible, which could be seen on a table next to Biden’s chair on the dais, has a Celtic cross on its cover and was also used each time he was sworn- n as a U.S. senator.
Biden’s late son, Beau, also used the Bible for his own swearing-in ceremony as attorney general of Delaware and helped carry the Bible to his father’s 2013 ceremony.
Harris Sworn in as 1st Female Vice President
Kamala Harris has been sworn in as the nation's first female vice president.
The former U.S. senator from California is also the first Black person and the first person of South Asian descent elected to the vice presidency and becomes the highest-ranking woman ever to serve in government.
She was sworn in Wednesday by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina to serve on the Supreme Court. Vice President Mike Pence, standing in for President Donald Trump, was sitting nearby as Lady Gaga sang the national anthem accompanied by the U.S. Marine Corps band.
Klobuchar Opens Inaugural Ceremony: 'This Is the Day When Our Democracy Picks Itself Up'
Joe Biden’s presidential inauguration ceremony has begun.
Biden swears the oath of office at noon Wednesday, becoming the 46th president of the United States. The Democrat is preparing to take the helm of a deeply divided nation and inherit crises arguably greater than any faced by his predecessors.
History will be made at Biden’s side, as Kamala Harris becomes the first woman to be vice president.
The ceremony in which presidential power is transferred is a hallowed American democratic tradition. And this time it serves as a jarring reminder of the challenges Biden faces: The inauguration unfolds at a U.S. Capitol battered by an insurrectionist siege just two weeks ago, encircled by security forces. It’s devoid of crowds because of the threat of the coronavirus pandemic.
In her welcome remarks, U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota urged Americans to never take the our democracy for granted and urged the country to move forward as a nation.
"Two weeks ago, when an angry, violent mob staged an insurrection and desecrated this temple of democracy, it awakened us to our responsibility as Americans," Klobuchar said. "This is the day when our democracy picks itself up, brushes off the dust and does what America always does: Goes forward as a nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
Biden, Harris Showcase American Designers at Inauguration
The president-elect is wearing a navy suit and navy overcoat by Ralph Lauren. Jill Biden is wearing an ocean-blue wool tweed coat and dress by American designer Alexandra O’Neill of the Markarian label.
Aides say Harris is wearing Christopher John Rogers and Sergio Hudson. Both are Black designers, Rogers from Louisiana and Hudson from South Carolina.
Harris’ husband, Doug Emhoff, wore a Ralph Lauren suit on Wednesday.
Hero Officer Who Led Capitol Rioters Away From Senate to Escort Harris
A Capitol police officer hailed as a hero for his actions during the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol is accompanying Vice President-elect Kamala Harris at the inauguration of Harris and President-elect Joe Biden.
Officer Eugene Goodman confronted the insurrectionists and led them away from Senate chambers moments after Vice President Mike Pence was escorted from the Senate chamber as the rioters stormed the Capitol.
Goodman is a Black man and was facing an overwhelmingly white mob. He is the only officer seen for a full minute on widely circulated footage captured by a news reporter. Goodman stands in front of the rioters and walks backward as the group follows him to a second-floor hallway, where other officers finally assist him.
A police spokeswoman says Goodman’s plainclothes assignment to accompany Harris “is a ceremonial role.″
Obamas, Clintons, Bushs Arrive at Capitol for Biden's Inauguration
All of the former U.S. presidents attending President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration have arrived at the U.S. Capitol.
George W. Bush and his wife, Laura, were first to arrive at the complex on Wednesday morning, several hours before Biden’s swearing-in ceremony.
Barack and Michelle Obama and Bill and Hillary Clinton followed shortly thereafter, with each couple arriving in separate motorcades.
The other living former president, 96-year-old Jimmy Carter, previously announced he would not attend Biden’s inauguration. Carter and his wife, 93-year-old Rosalynn Carter, have largely spent the coronavirus pandemic at their home in Plains, Georgia.
Biden, Harris Arrive at the Capitol for Inauguration
President-elect Joe Biden has arrived at the U.S. Capitol ahead of his inauguration as the United States’ 46th president.
Biden and his wife, Jill, arrived at the complex on Wednesday morning, about 90 minutes before his noon swearing-in ceremony. They were accompanied by Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and her husband, Douglas Emhoff, and were greeted by U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota.
The president-elect’s motorcade wound its way through a mostly deserted Washington following a morning church service at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle. Streets that would typically be lined with thousands of inaugural onlookers were ringed instead with a massive security presence to include military vehicles and armed troops.
About 25,000 National Guard members have been dispatched to Washington following the violent melee at the U.S. Capitol two weeks ago.
Biden paused to wave from the Capitol steps before entering the building.
Women Pay Tribute to Harris By Wearing Pearls, Chuck Taylors on Inauguration Day
Multiple Facebook groups have garnered thousands of members by asking women to wear pearls — Vice President-elect Kamala Harris' favorite accessory — on Jan. 20.
On social media, women have been sharing photos donning Chucks and pearls to commemorate the inauguration of the first woman vice president-elect as well as the first Black woman and the first South Asian woman vice president-elect.
Biden: 'It's a New Day in America'
President-elect Joe Biden said on social media "It's new day in America" ahead of his inauguration as 46th president.
Trump Left Departure Note for Biden, Following Tradition
President Donald Trump has left a departure note in the Oval Office for his successor, following at least one presidential tradition.
Many wondered whether Trump, who has refused to accept the results of November’s election and vowed not to attend Biden’s inauguration, would leave behind any handwritten, friendly advice for Biden, as his predecessors have done over the last 32 years.
Deputy press secretary Judd Deere declined to reveal what Trump wrote to Biden or to characterize the sentiment in the note, citing privacy for communication between presidents.
The missives' contents generally start off as confidential, but are often eventually made public by archivists, references in presidential memoirs or via social media after journalists and others filed requests to obtain them.
Biden Goes to Church Before His Inauguration
President-elect Joe Biden is attending church ahead of his inauguration, a traditional step taken ahead of the swearing-in ceremony.
Biden and incoming first lady Jill Biden on Wednesday are attending a service at Washington’s Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle. With them are incoming Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband, Douglas Emhoff.
At Biden’s invitation, the first couple is joined by a bipartisan group of members of Congress, including all four top-ranking members of congressional leadership.
That includes both Senate leaders, Republican Mitch McConnell and Democrat Chuck Schumer, as well as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy.
Many presidents have chosen St. John’s Episcopal Church, sometimes called “Church of the Presidents,” for the inaugural day service. Biden is the second Catholic U.S. president, and St. Matthew’s is the seat of the Catholic archbishop of Washington.
Biden spent Tuesday night at Blair House, a traditional move ahead of a president’s inauguration.
Trump Leaves White House for Florida: 'Hopefully It's Not a Long-Term Goodbye'
Donald Trump walked out of the White House with first lady Melania Trump and boarded Marine One for the last time as president just after 8 a.m. ET Wednesday, leaving behind a legacy of chaos and tumult and a nation bitterly divided.
"It's been a great honor, the honor of a lifetime," Trump told reporters and aides gathered on the White House lawn as he departed 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., adding "I just want to say goodbye and hopefully it's not a long-term goodbye."
Trump has opted not to attend the inauguration, becoming the first president to do so since Andrew Johnson in 1869. The tradition of a president attending his successor’s inauguration began with George Washington and projects to the country and the world that America is transitioning to new leadership freely and in peace.
Trump then headed to Joint Base Andrews in suburban Maryland for a military sendoff. Four U.S. Army cannons greeted him with a 21-gun salute. He told his supporters at the farewell ceremony that he "will always fight for you. I will be watching, I will be listening, and I will tell you that the future of this country has never been better."
"I wish the new administration great luck and great success. I think they'll have great success. They have the foundation to do something really spectacular, and we put it in the position to do something that it's never done before," Trump said.
Trump will then fly to Florida, where he’ll stay at Mar-a-Lago.
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EU Sighs With Relief as Biden Readies to Enter White House
The European Union’s top officials breathed a sigh of relief on Wednesday that Joe Biden will be taking over as president of the United States, but they warned that the world has changed after four years of Donald Trump and that trans-Atlantic ties will be different in the future.
“This new dawn in America is the moment we’ve been awaiting for so long,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said, hailing Biden’s arrival as “resounding proof that, once again after four long years, Europe has a friend in the White House.”
“The United States are back, and Europe stands ready to reconnect with an old and trusted partner to breathe new life into our cherished alliance,” she told EU lawmakers, hours before Biden was to be sworn in at his inauguration ceremony in Washington.
European Council President Charles Michel, who chairs summits between the EU’s 27 heads of state and government, said that trans-Atlantic relations have “greatly suffered in the last four years. In these years, the world has grown more complex, less stable and less predictable.”
“We have our differences and they will not magically disappear. America seems to have changed, and how it’s perceived in Europe and the rest of the world has also changed,” said Michel, whose open criticism of the Trump era contrasted starkly with the silence that mostly reigned in Europe while the Republican leader was in the White House.
Trump to Leave DC Early, Prior to Inauguration Ceremony
Donald Trump will walk out of the White House and board Marine One for the last time as president Wednesday morning, leaving behind a legacy of chaos and tumult and a nation bitterly divided.
Four years after standing on stage at his own inauguration and painting a dire picture of “American carnage," Trump departs the office twice impeached, with millions more out of work and 400,000 dead from the coronavirus. Republicans under his watch lost the presidency and both chambers of Congress. He will be forever remembered for the final major act of his presidency: inciting an insurrection at the Capitol that left five dead, including a Capitol Police officer, and horrified the nation.
Trump will be the first president in modern history to boycott his successor’s inauguration as he continues to stew about his loss and privately maintains the election that President-elect Joe Biden fairly won was stolen from him. Republican officials in several critical states, members of his own administration and a wide swath of judges, including those appointed by Trump, have rejected those arguments.
Still, Trump has refused to participate in any of the symbolic passing-of-the-torch traditions surrounding the peaceful transition of power, including inviting the Bidens over for a get-to-know-you visit.
By the time Biden is sworn in, Trump will already have landed at his private Mar-a-Lago club in West Palm Beach, Florida, to face an uncertain future — but not before giving himself a grand military sendoff, complete with a red carpet, military band and 21-gun salute.
Guests have been invited, but it is unclear how many will attend. Even Vice President Mike Pence plans to skip the event, citing the logistical challenges of getting from the air base to the inauguration ceremonies.
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DC on Lockdown and on Edge Before Biden's Inauguration
The inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden will take place in a Washington on edge, after the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol unleashed a wave of fear and unmatched security concerns. And law enforcement officials are contending not only with the potential for outside threats but also with rising concerns about an insider attack by troops with a duty to protect him.
There have been no specific threats made against Biden.
The nation's capital is essentially on lockdown. More than 25,000 troops and police have been called to duty. Tanks and concrete barriers block the streets. The National Mall is closed. Fencing lines the perimeter of the U.S. Capitol complex. Checkpoints sit at intersections. The U.S. Secret Service, which is in charge of the event, says it is prepared.
But law enforcement officials have been monitoring members of far-right extremist and militia groups. They have grown increasingly concerned about the possibility such groups could stream into Washington and spark violent confrontations, a law enforcement official said.
Even in the hours before the event, federal agents were monitoring “concerning online chatter,” which included an array of threats against elected officials and discussions about ways to infiltrate the inauguration, the official said.
And 12 National Guard members were removed from the security operation after vetting by the FBI, including two who had made extremist statements in posts or texts about Wednesday's event. Pentagon officials wouldn't give details on the statements.
Indian Village Cheers for Harris Before Swearing-in as VP
A tiny, lush-green Indian village surrounded by rice paddy fields was beaming with joy Wednesday hours before its descendant, Kamala Harris, takes her oath of office and becomes the U.S. vice president.
Harris is set to make history as the first woman, first woman of color and first person of South Asian descent to hold the vice presidency.
In her maternal grandfather’s hometown of Thulasendrapuram, about 215 miles from the southern coastal city of Chennai, people were jubilant and gearing up for celebrations.
“We are feeling very proud that an Indian is being elected as the vice president of America,” said Anukampa Madhavasimhan, a teacher.
Harris’ grandfather moved to Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu state, decades ago. Harris’ late mother was also born in India, before moving to the U.S. to study at the University of California. She married a Jamaican man, and they named their daughter Kamala, a Sanskrit word for “lotus flower.”
Ahead of the inauguration, special prayers for her success were held at the town temple during which the idol of Hindu deity Ayyanar, a form of Lord Shiva, was washed with milk and decked with flowers by the priest.
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