On a day of firsts, the new administration honored Fire Captain Andrea Hall by tapping the Georgia firefighter to lead the Pledge of Allegiance during the inauguration of President Joe Biden.
Hall began her career in 1993 as the first Black woman hired and assigned to a station at the City of Albany Fire Department, according to The 19th. In 2004 she was the first Black woman promoted to fire captain at Fulton County Fire Rescue—a position she still holds after 16 years.
At the inauguration on January 20, she recited the pledge out loud, while simultaneously leading the pledge in American Sign Language.
“I am thrilled and humbled to represent firefighters and other frontline workers in the state of Georgia and the City of South Fulton,” she told local news station 11 Alive ahead of the event. “It is a privilege and an honor to help usher in a new chapter of leadership for our country.”
As for the Pledge of Allegiance, Hall told CNN,“Everything it expresses, I want to embody that in that moment. And just making sure that I am representing my family, my professional family here in South Fulton, representing the nation, and making sure that they understand the passion from which I speak those words about being indivisible as a nation…because that’s what it’s going to take to move our country forward.”
Her moment at the podium was widely praised on social media, as users were impressed by her presence at the event which also featured performances by Jennifer Lopez, Lady Gaga, Garth Brooks, and a poetry reading by Amanda Gorman.
“They got a Black woman firefighter from Atlanta, Georgia out here reciting (and signing) the Pledge of Allegiance,” Franklin Leonard tweeted. “The levels of Andrea Hall’s inclusion. The Levels.”
“Lady Gaga singing the national anthem after being a voice for the LGBTQIA+ community, Andrea Hall leading the Pledge using ASL as a Black Woman, and JLO performing and speaking in Spanish during it,” another user tweeted. “This is America. I’m crying y’all.”
“This is really about the firefighters and the frontline workers who represent our industry in this country,” Hall also told CNN. It is about Fulton and the people who I represent here in the community of people that we serve. It’s really about us being on the precipice of moving our country forward to a more united place.”