Our country's entertainment, culture and aspiration were all spotlighted during Wednesday night's Celebrating America primetime inaugural celebration -- from sea to shining sea.
It opened with Bruce Springsteen alone on a circular stage in front of the Lincoln Memorial. He began by wishing America a good evening. "I'm proud to be here in cold Washington, D.C. tonight. I want to offer this small prayer for our country. This is "Land of Hope and Dreams."
Tom Hanks hosted the hour-and-a-half-long show that also featured:
- Three past presidents --Obama, Bush and Clinton-- speaking about coming together despite our differences, people from
- Basketball great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, labor and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta, student Brayden Harrington and baseball executive Kim Ng reading memorable passages from the inaugural speeches by Abraham Lincoln,Franklin Delano Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan.
- Jon Bon Jovi performing The Beatles' "Here Comes the Sun" from a pier in Miami.
- Ant Clemons and Justin Timberlake doing their current single "Better Days," first from the historic Stax Studios in Memphis then from the street outside the studio.
- Black Pumas performing "Colors" from the Austin City Limits stage in their Texas hometown.
- Foo Fighters closing a segment honoring America's teachers, with Dave Grohl first talking about his teacher mom and her ties with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden as educators, then playing "Times Like These" from Los Angeles.
- Dozens of Broadway theater actors performing "Seasons of Love" from Rentand "Let the Sunshine" In fromH air, followed by Lin-Manuel Miranda reading a poem by the Irish poet Seamus Heaney.
- Gospel music star Yolanda Adams singing "Amazing Grace" and Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah."
- John Legend, doing another Broadway song, "Feeling Good," on the Lincoln Memorial stage.
- LatinX star DJ Cassidy first performing "Pass the Mic" with Ozuna then segueing into "Despacito" with Luis Fonsi.
- Tyler Hubbard of Florida Georgia Line teaming with Tim McGraw from Nashville's Bridge Building on "Undivided," a song he wrote while quarantining in a trailer in his driveway. The song's unity message fit perfectly with the evening's theme.
- Demi Lovato, joined on vocals by doctors and nurses, as she sang "Lovely Day."
- Katy Perry performing "Firework" as the introduction to perhaps the most spectacular fireworks display the nation's capital, or anyone anywhere, has ever seen.
- Kerry Washington, Eva Longoria, Yo-Yo Ma, Chef José Andrés and many ordinary Americans also appeared in segments highlighting various aspects of life in current day America.