After the roller coaster of the last few weeks, the eventual handover of power to Joseph R. Biden as the 46th President of the United States was a quiet affair.

In normal times, American citizens would have packed out the National Mall to witness the inauguration. Instead the Mall was empty and surrounded by barbed wire. In the place of well-wishers were 25,000 National Guard troops and 191,500 flags laid out in the shape of America to represent those who could not attend.

Top Democrats and Republicans mingled alongside Lady Gaga who sang Star Spangled Banner into a golden microphone. Then, with one hand on a large family Bible, Biden took the oath of office.