US Inauguration Day 2021: 127-year-old Bible, Trump's absence and Lady Gaga
The historic swearing-in ceremony of the 46th US president-elect Joe Biden and the first woman vice president-elect Kamala Harris is scheduled to take place around 10:00-10:30pm (IST) on Thursday. The ceremony will be much different from the previous one with the inauguration taking place with a small, socially distanced audience owing to the coronavirus pandemic and also due to concerns of potentially armed protests across the nation after the US Capitol riots.
Here’s everything you need to know about Inauguration Day:
1. The chief justice, John Roberts, will administer the oath of office to Biden who will take the oath with his hand on top of his 127-year-old family Bible to be held by his wife, Jill Biden. Harris will be sworn in by Justice Soniya Sotomayor, the first Latina member of the Supreme Court.
2. The theme of the inauguration is "America United," a theme Biden campaigned on and which he is expected to focus on in his speech.
3. Most of the US Congress and the Supreme Court are expected to be in attendance, as are some former presidents. Barack Obama, George W Bush and Bill Clinton are all set to attend, as are former first ladies Michelle Obama, Laura Bush and Hillary Clinton. Vice president Mike Pence will also attend the ceremony.
4. President Donald Trump will not be attending the ceremony making him the first president to skip his successor's inauguration since 1869.
5. According to the inauguration website, the inauguration will see the participation of the following:
Invocation by Father Leo J O’Donovan
Pledge of Allegiance by Andrea Hall
National Anthem by Lady Gaga
Poetry Reading by Amanda Gorman
Musical Performance by Jennifer Lopez
Benediction by Reverend Dr Silvester Beaman
6. Owing to the pandemic, safety protocols will be in place. Attendees will be socially distanced and will have to wear masks. The number of people has also been reduced because of the same.
7. The traditional luncheon that follows the inaugural ceremony and the inaugural ball have been cancelled. The inaugural committee is holding three virtual balls, one of them called "We Are One," which will feature remarks from Harris.
8. Numerous security precautions have also been put in place after pro-Trump supporters breached the Capitol during the electoral vote count. More than 25,000 National Guard members have been called up to keep the event secure, extra security fencing has been erected near the Capitol, and the White House and numerous streets have been shut down.
9. After the swearing-in ceremony is completed, Biden and Harris will take part in a Pass in Review with members of the military on the East Front of the Capitol.
10. After the Pass in Review, Biden, Harris and their spouses will honour the military at the Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, where they will lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
11. They will then head to the White House where they will get a presidential escort, which will include representatives from every branch of the military, as well as the drumlines for the University of Delaware and Howard University — Biden's and Harris' alma maters.
12. This will be followed by the virtual "Parade Across America," featuring performances from all 56 states and territories. The event, hosted by the actor Tony Goldwyn, will feature appearances by Earth, Wind and Fire and former Daily Show host Jon Stewart.
13. The grand finale called “Celebrating America" will be hosted by Academy Award winner Tom Hanks, and Eva Longoria and Kerry Washington will introduce segments of the special. Scheduled performers include rock legend Bruce Springsteen, Foo Fighters, John Legend, Jon Bon Jovi, Justin Timberlake, Demi Lovato, Ant Clemons and Lin-Manuel Miranda.
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- A Jan. 5 report from the FBI's Norfolk, Virginia, field office warned of online posts foreshadowing a “war” in Washington.