Inauguration Day 2021 capped off Wednesday night with a Celebrating America primetime special that brought out some of Hollywood's biggest names to welcome in the new administration under President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. Boasting a wide range of jaw-dropping performances, Oscar-winner Tom Hanks hosted the special from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Americans tuning into the inaugural special couldn't help but take note of uncanny scene, because several decades earlier, Hanks, as Forrest Gump, had stood in that very same place in the now iconic Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool scene.
In the beloved 1994 film, Forrest in 1968 meets and become fast friends with activist Abbie Hoffman, who invites him to take the stage and share his experiences in Vietnam with the thousands of anti-war protesters gathered in Washington, D.C. As Forrest stands in front of the crowd with several microphones in front of him, technical difficulties prevent anyone from actually hearing his speech. Hanks, according to Mental Floss, later revealed Forrest's speech to be, "Sometimes when people go to Vietnam, they go home to their mommas without any legs. Sometimes they don’t go home at all. That’s a bad thing. That's all I have to say about that."
Forrest Gump back at the reflecting pool? Today’s like a box of chocolates! #InauguralConcertJanuary 21, 2021
Thankfully, as Hanks returned to the Lincoln Memorial Wednesday night, the Reflecting Pool behind him, he was not met with the same technical difficulties, and Americans watching from across the country heard his message of unity and peace loud and clear. Addressing the country, Hanks said, "tonight we ponder the United States of America, the practice of our democracy, the foundations of our republic, the integrity of the Constitution," according to The New York Post. He also spoke of "dreams we share" and the current state of the country.
"The last few weeks, in the last few years, we've witnessed deep divisions and a troubling ranker in our land but tonight, we ponder the United States of America. The practice of our democracy, the foundations of our republic, the integrity of our Constitution, the hope and dreams we all share for a more perfect union," he said, CNN reported. "To some, a presidential inauguration is a tradition, an act that marks the commitment of a new four-year term. Yet, in truth, Inauguration Day is more than the swearing in of the next national leaders. This day is about witnessing the permanence of our American ideal."
Last time we saw Tom Hanks on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial pic.twitter.com/zhmPsVjLfE— Hunter Marston (@hmarston4) January 21, 2021
Wednesday night’s special also included remarks from the president and vice president. Justin Timberlake, Ant Clemons, Demi Lovato, Bruce Springsteen, Katy Perry, and numerous other performed.