By Michael Jarvis, UK Correspondent
With an impregnable ring of steel fencing and surrounded by a perimeter of armed-to-the-teeth US military, America on Wednesday stepped into a new era.
The tight security unlike that ever seen for the swearing of a President of the United States was a metaphor for the maelstrom unleashed by the just-ended Trump presidency.
With a pledge to restore a politically and socially-polarised America - the legacy of the presidency of Donald Trump - to some semblance of normality, President Joe Biden already ‘had his work cut out for him’.
Resistant to the very end of his turbulent four years at the helm of government, Mr Trump was still clinging on to the fading vestiges of the pomp and ceremony pageantry of office as he faded into historical ignominy.
Mr Trump leaves office with his reputation in shambles only equal to the tatters of his beleaguered administration.
Where Donald Trump sought to stride like a colossus, he only succeeded in diminishing the office of President of the United States -well, almost succeeded.
The incendiary, divisive rhetoric that characterised his period in office manifested itself in a deadly insurrection and raid on a meeting of the US Congress resulting in five deaths, based on still unsubstantiated allegations by the former president that the election was stolen from him.
The ring of steel that surrounded the Capitol for President Joe Biden’s swearing-in might also have been allegorical; a security blanket for the new President Biben and Vice-President Kamala Harris against the threat of attack by the minions of the former president Trump - who himself had petulantly refused to attend the inauguration.
The historical record will not be kind to Donald Trump especially considering his failed scorched-earth attempt to thwart the peaceful transfer of power in a nation once regarded as the beacon of democracy.
Not only will his tenure in office be forensically scrutinised for years to come, so too will the former president's state of mind.
It will take the US some time to recover from his battering ram approach to politics and governance.
The new Biden administration armed with a plethora of policies and executive orders to overrule Trump’s blitzkrieg on good governance as a first-order of business, will have the monumental task of reinstating America as a respected, influential world leader.
Bridging the gap that Trump has left will not be easy.
The comparatively gulf that the former president met when he entered office four years ago, instead of seeking to close it further he chose to exploit and expand into a canyon-sized chasm which almost brought the country to civil war.
Divisions from the Trump era have not only cut through - and cut - the society, but have sliced right through the country’s body politic with even the Republican Party rocked internally by splits over Trump with one of Donald Trump’s sons, Don Jr, even calling it “Donald Trump’s Republican Party”.
Mr Trump still controls significant support among Republicans and nationally his die-hard loyalists, said to number over 75 million with cultish adulation of their leader, are pledging that their movement will not go away.
Mr Biden, at 78 the oldest person to have taken on the title - and mantle - of President of the United States of America, has a tough job on his hands to chart a new course for America out of the turbulent waters of the short-lived Trump presidency.
The world continues to watch as America takes the first step into a new, hopefully brighter era, to undo what has been done as the US emerges from a dark period in its history.