This past weekend marked a historical win in what has been regarded as one of the most contentious presidential elections in history. After nearly a week of careful counting, Joe Biden from Deleware became the 46th President of the United States of America. Alongside him, his running mate and the first female, biracial Vice President, Kamala Harris from California. To acknowledge and celebrate their victory, Biden and Harris delivered impassioned speeches from the Chase Center on the Riverfront in Wilmington, DE.
About 1,000 people wearing masks gathered inside Chase Center. They were socially distanced in stands and about 400 (mostly red, white, and blue) cars arranged in the parking lot to cheer on Biden, Harris, and their families. Thousands more poured out onto the surrounding streets. Millions around the world watched on television and online as the future Vice President, then President of the United States of America delivered speeches on hope, change, and most importantly, unity. And while both speeches were moving and uplifting, perhaps what was the most unifying moment happened when they had finished speaking… and an epic drone and fireworks show ensued!
At the close of his speech, President elect Joe Biden called out his wife Jill to join him on the stage. Moments later, his children and their spouses, and Biden’s grandchildren came out clapping, dancing, and hugging each other. Shortly thereafter, Vice President elect Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug, walked out hand in hand. They were followed by Kamala’s stepchildren, niece, and grand nieces. Then, with his 7 month old grandson in his arms, named in honor of Biden’s son Beau, all eyes looked up as an inspiring drone and fireworks show lit up the sky night sky.
The show began with the usual, albeit beautiful, bursts of fireworks while Cold Play’s “A Sky Full Of Stars” played loud and clear. On stage, everyone looked on with joy. Seconds later, their expressions turned to complete awe as drones lit up in the shapes of stars next to the fireworks. The drones went on to be the dominating feature of the show, the fireworks being used to highlight them. As one of his grandchildren lovingly hung onto his shoulder, the drones then arranged to spell out Biden’s name as he pointed up to the sky. Next, the drones lit up into a white outline of the continental US, while the inside filled in with red and blue illuminated drones. The micro-LED drones continued to form into messages culminating with an outburst of cheers as a rotating ring of drones encircled a giant 46, denoting Biden’s role as the 46th president, followed by the drone’s spelling out Harris. For the grand finale, the drones transitioned to spell out USA, then a massive American flag while the fireworks overlaid in gusto.
This drone show marked another historical moment for the night. It was one of the first times drones and fireworks had been used in tandem. The company responsible for presenting the show had to bustle through a lot of paperwork to get waivers for the drone show to be held in restricted airspace. And, considering just how many people had tuned in to watch the evening’s events live, it was quite possibly the most watched drone light show ever. While many have heard about drone light shows as they gain in popularity, for a lot of people watching on the evening of Saturday, November 11, 2020, it was their first experience with the phenomenon.
The drone and firework show served as a way to solidify Biden’s message of unity in that particular moment. But what many drone enthusiasts took away from the display is that this new administration will be taking strides to strengthen and unify the drone industry. The Trump administration had often raised questions as to the future and security of drones, particularly those made abroad. The show put on by the Biden administration showed how drones can be used for good. Portraying drones in a positive, uplifting format will encourage those who had been at one time fearfully of them to realize just how important of an impact drones have on the world.