During Wednesday evening's inaugural celebration event, Bruce Springsteen performed a powerful rendition of his song "Land of Hope and Dreams."
The 71-year-old rock icon performed live on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, opening the evening titled "Celebrate America" that was hosted by Tom Hanks.
"Land of Hope and Dreams" was written in 1999 and wasn't included in a studio recorded album until 2012. Instead, it made numerous appearances on the road in many of Springsteen's live shows and concerts and was first featured on the "Live in New York City" album that followed his 1999 tour with the E Street Band.
The lyrics read, in part: "Well, I will provide for you and I'll stand by your side. You'll need a good companion now for this part of the ride. Yeah, leave behind your sorrows. Let this day be the last. Well, tomorrow there'll be sunshine and all this darkness past."
At one point during his performance, tears seemed to well up in his eyes.
Before Wednesday evening's stirring performance of the moving track, Springsteen sent “a small prayer out to Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, to you and our country” on his Sirius XM radio show, according to the Asbury Park Press.
“We are creatures whose veins pulse with hope and faith and love,” Springsteen added. “I’ve made most of my life’s work the pursuit of that hope, faith and love, and its evidence and power here in this world. We need shared beliefs and common values to give us the ties that will bind us into a country and a people that will define our character and deepen our national soul. These days, I know those things are hard to come by. But they’re there, and today is a day to celebrate them.”
Springsteen was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, by President Barack Obama in November 2016.
"As a songwriter, a humanitarian, America’s rock and roll laureate and New Jersey’s greatest ambassador, Bruce Springsteen is, quite simply, The Boss," Obama said before awarding him with the honor. "Through stories about ordinary people, to Vietnam veterans to steel workers, his songs capture the pain and the promise of the American experience."
"With his legendary E Street Band, Bruce Springsteen leaves everything on stage in epic, live, communal live performances that have rocked audiences for decades," he continued. "With empathy and honesty, he holds up a mirror to who we are, as Americans chasing our dreams, and as human beings trying to do the right thing. There’s a place for everyone in Bruce Springsteen’s America."