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N.H. teen mentored by Biden speaks during inaugural celebration

Brayden Harrington, 13, of Boscawen, N.H. , speaks during the Celebrating America, a primetime special hosted by Tom Hanks that featured remarks by president-elect Joe Biden and vice president-elect Kamala Harris and performances representing diverse American talent.Handout/Biden Inaugural Committee via Getty Images

Brayden Harrington, the 13-year-old from Boscawen, N.H. who bonded with Joe Biden on the campaign trail over their shared experience of stuttering, took part in “Celebrating America,” the TV special honoring the new president Wednesday night.

He joined basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabar, labor leader Doris Huerta and Miami Marlins general manager Kim Ng, to recite passages from the inaugural addresses of four presidents.

Dressed in a crisp bow-tie and blazer, Brayden read from President John F. Kennedy’s 1961 inaugural address which included the iconic line, “My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”

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Neither Brayden nor his parents could be reached for comment Wednesday by the Globe.

In an interview with CNN, Brayden said he felt honored to participate in Biden’s inauguration celebration. “He’s come a long way and I’m pretty happy for him,” he said. “When I first met him, it was in February and he came this far. He basically has the whole country in his hands, and I know he’ll be good at that.”

Brayden’s father told Biden about his son’s stuttering last year during a campaign stop in New Hampshire. The future president assured Brayden that he, too, could overcome his stutter. “Don’t let it define you,” Biden said, before offering to give Brayden tips about how to manage his stutter.

Brayden praised Biden’s help during an appearance last summer during the virtual Democratic National Convention.

“I’m just trying to be a kid,” Harrington said at the convention. “And in a short amount of time, Joe Biden made me feel more confident about something that’s bothered me my whole life. Joe Biden cared. Imagine what he could do for all of us.”


Christine Mui can be reached at christine.mui@globe.com.