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Joe Biden quotes ‘American Anthem’ during inaugural address: Who wrote the song?

Isobel Lewis
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Joe Biden quoted the song “American Anthem” during his inaugural address.

As he was sworn into office on Wednesday (20 January), Biden gave a speech welcoming a new age of “history and hope”.

“Today we celebrate the triumph not of a candidate but of a cause,” he said. “The cause of democracy. The will of the people has been heard and the will of the people has been heeded.”

Ending his speech, Biden quoted from the song “American Anthem”, which was written by Gene Scheer in 1998 and first performed for President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton.

Follow The Independent’s inauguration live blog here.

Over the years, it has been sung by artists such as Denyce Graves, Patti Labelle, Nathan Gunn and Norah Jones. It was also performed at George W Bush’s 2005 inauguration.

“We’ll write the next great chapter in the history of the United States of America, the American story,” Biden said. “A story that might sound a lot like a song that means a lot to me, it’s called ‘American Anthem’. There’s one verse that stands out, at least for me.”

Quoting the song, he continued: “The work and prayers of centuries have brought us to this day / What shall be our legacy? What will our children say? / Let me know in my heart when my days are through / America, America I gave my best to you.”

Biden was praised for quoting the song in his speech, with one viewer writing that they were left with “goose pimples” as the president spoke.

“How wonderful to hear Gene Scheer’s ‘American Anthem’ quoted in President Biden’s inaugural address,” one comment read.

“Joe Biden quoting ‘American Anthem’ got me,” another commenter wrote.

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