INAUGURATION 1789 / 1937 / 2021
Historic changes to the Inauguration of the President and Vice President of the United States of America ….
– The first inauguration, of George Washington, took place on April 30, 1789.
– Inauguration Day moved to January 20 beginning in 1937 following ratification of the Twentieth Amendment to the Constitution.
– 2021 Inauguration festivity attendance will be limited to prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. A major change will be that the events will be held over three days.
The 2021 Presidential Inaugural Committee chose the theme for the event: “America United.”
This is a long-time central focus of the incoming Biden Administration. “It reflects the beginning of a new national journey that restores the soul of America, brings the country together, and creates a path to a brighter future.”
The U.S. Congress Committee chose the inaugural theme “Our Determined Democracy: Forging a More Perfect Union” to highlight the inaugural ceremony as a “hallmark of American governance and democracy” and stress the peaceful transition of power.
The National Park Service has closed the Washington Monument until January 24. UPDATE 1/15: the National Mall will be closed.
There are plans for a major public art display. It will span multiple blocks of the National Mall and feature 191,500 U.S. flags and 56 pillars of light. It symbolizes every U. S. state and territory, as well as those who could not attend the celebration.
* Monday, January 18 – Martin Luther King Day – President-elect Biden, Vice President-elect Harris, and citizens across the country will be encouraged to join forces for Together We Serve, a national day of action to lift up our communities and serve our neighbors. Americans are encourage to engage in acts of community service on that day and plan to co-organize events that focus on improving people’s economic, health, and social well-being.
* Tuesday, January 19, there will be a Memorial to Lives Lost, honoring the loved ones, friends and neighbors we have lost to COVID-19 while paying tribute to the strength, courage and patriotism of the healthcare and frontline workers who have risked their own health to serve those in need. (Perhaps YOUR community will “howl” or make noise at 7pm MST like the support of frontline workers this past summer.)
CANCELLED: Biden will travel to Washington, D.C. from Wilmington, Delaware on a passenger train, which he routinely traveled by during his time as a U.S. Senator—earning him the nickname “Amtrak Joe”—a day before Inauguration Day.
Lincoln Memorial lighting: Inaugural organizers are inviting communities around the United States to light buildings and ring church bells at 5:30 p.m. ET (3:30 p.m. Colorado time) on the eve of the inauguration in a moment of “unity and remembrance” for those lost to the pandemic. A lighting ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool will be held simultaneously.
* Wednesday, January 20, 12 noon: the ceremony of the transfer of power will take place as the President-elect and Vice President-elect are officially sworn into office. The public ceremony is scheduled to take place on the West Front of the United States Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. The event will be the 59th presidential inauguration. Joseph Biden will take the oath of office as president on that day, and Kamala Harris will take the oath of office as vice president.
Among the officials present will be the three former presidents and their wives (Obama, Bush, Clinton), and current Vice President Pence (current president Donald Trump will not be attending). And, members of the U.S. Congress. The swearing-in ceremony will be live streamed and broadcasted for the country and world to watch.
REVIEW: After the swearing-in ceremony, Biden, Harris, and their spouses will participate in a “Pass in Review” on the East Front of the U.S. Capitol featuring members of the U.S. Armed Forces.
After Biden is officially inaugurated, he and Vice President Kamala Harris and their spouses will lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery, and they will be joined there by the three former presidents and their wives (Obama, Bush, Clinton). It will show an act of bipartisanship.
PARADE: (virtual) Following the wreath laying ceremony, a “parade” will escort Biden and Harris to the White House and include every branch of the U.S. military. The Virtual Parade Across America, organized by the Biden Inaugural Committee, will be televised, reflecting the “diversity, heritage, and resilience of the country” in the event’s “musical acts, local bands, poets, dance troupes, and more.” Viewing stands outside the White House that were originally constructed for the inaugural parade were dismantled because they were ultimately deemed “unnecessary” for the revised plans.
At the Swearing in Ceremony:
(1) Award-winning Black female writer Amanda Gorman, 22, is set to become the youngest inaugural poet in memory when she recites her work at President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration Wednesday. She is the first-ever National Youth Poet Laureate.
(2) Lady Gaga will sing the national anthem for the inauguration. Jennifer Lopez will perform.
(3) Georgia firefighter Andrea Hall, president of the International Association of Firefighters Local 3920 in metro Atlanta, and the department’s first African American woman to be promoted to captain, will lead the Pledge of Allegiance.
Cancelled: Congressional luncheon; Inaugural Balls.
**All events are subject to change**
Public health measures such as mandatory face coverings, testing, temperature checks, and social distancing will be used to protect participants of the ceremony
Security measures are being coordinated:
Capitol Police Pentagon, Homeland Security and US District-area police.
Homeland Security is setting increased inauguration security measures into motion earlier than scheduled.
Attendance at the Event: The event was already pared down because of COVID-19 restrictions. Biden has asked supporters to stay home and watch.
Where can I get up-to-date information?
You can follow @BidenInaugural on social media (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube) and visit BidenInaugural.org for the latest news and information about the inauguration.
OATHS of OFFICE:
Harris will recite the following oath:
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God
Biden will recite the following oath, as prescribed by the Constitution:
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. [So help me God.]
BIDEN: Upon his inauguration, Biden will become the oldest president at 78 years and 61 days, older upon taking office than Ronald Reagan, who left office at 77 years, 349 days. He will also become the first president from Delaware (although he was born in Pennsylvania), the second Catholic after John F. Kennedy, and the fifteenth former vice president to serve as president. Many of Biden’s ancestors were Irish immigrants who sought a better life in the US during the potato famine. Biden told Ancestry.com in 2016 that his last name comes from an English line in his family. Jill married Joe Biden in 1977, becoming stepmother to Beau and Hunter, his two sons from his first marriage. The two also have a daughter together, Ashley. See his wikipedia page for info on his career.
BIBLE: When President-elect Joe Biden takes the oath of office on January 20, he’ll be sworn in using a huge Bible that’s been in his family since 1893 and comes from his father’s side. He’s used it for all seven of his swearing-in ceremonies as a US senator and twice for the oaths of office he took as President Barack Obama’s vice president. It was also used by his late son, Beau, when he was sworn in as attorney general of Delaware. The Bible is five inches thick and has a Celtic cross on its cover, according to USA Today.
HARRIS will become the first woman, first African American, and first Asian American vice president. In 2017, Kamala D. Harris was sworn in as a United States senator for California, the second African-American woman and first South Asian-American senator in history. Her father is Jamaican and her mother is Indian. She was born in Oakland, CA in 1964. Her parents divorced when she was 7; she attended predominantly Black churches. She is married to a Jewish man with two adult children. She has been involved in landmark court and government cases in her political career. See her Wikipedia page for more information on her career.