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The significance of ‘Amazing Grace’ at Biden’s inauguration

Joe Biden takes the oath of office Wednesday.
(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

Following Joe Biden’s inaugural speech as president, country star Garth Brooks took to the stage for a rendition of the old hymn “Amazing Grace.”

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.”

Sporting a cowboy hat, Brooks sang two verses of the hymn and then invited the crowd — and viewers at home — to join with him for the repeat of the first verse.

“I once was lost, but now I am found. Was blind, but now I see.”

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Joe Biden is inaugurated hours after his predecessor leaves the White House, clearing the way for a beleaguered nation to turn the page on one of the most divisive chapters in its political history.

The words were written in 1772 by John Newton, a former slavetrader who took up the abolitionist movement after converting to Christianity.

Following the song’s conclusion, Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) reminded the audience of President Obama’s stirring rendition of the historic tune following the 2015 shooting that left several dead at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C. Obama famously led the hymn for a crowd of about 6,000 following his eulogy for the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, who was one of nine killed.


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