What happens on Inauguration Day?

President Obama takes the oath of office in 2009 — expect the 2021 crowd to be much, much smaller (Photo: Architect of the Capitol)

Congratulations to Joe Biden and Kamala Harris! The 2020 Election is over and the next step for the winners is Inauguration Day.

Inauguration Day will be held on January 20, 2021 in the U.S. Capitol building in Washington D.C. Keep reading to find out what events take place on Inauguration Day!

Members of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies will travel to the White House to escort the President-elect, Vice President-elect, and their spouses to the U.S. Capitol building. After a brief meeting, Joe Biden and Donald Trump will then proceed together to the Capitol for the Swearing-In Ceremonies.

2. Vice President Swearing-In Ceremony

Before Joe Biden takes the oath of office on Inauguration Day, Kamala Harris will step forward on the Inaugural platform and repeat the oath of office. The oath reads:

“I do solemnly swear 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.”

3. President Swearing-In Ceremony

Around noon, the President-elect recites the same oath, in accordance with Article II, Section I of the U.S. Constitution.

4. Inaugural Address

The custom of delivering an address on Inauguration Day started with the very first Inauguration — George Washington’s — on April 30, 1789. Most Presidents use their Inaugural Address to introduce their goals for the nation. The longest Inaugural Address was 8,445 words while the shortest Inaugural Address was 135 words.

5. Honorary Departure

After the Swearing-In Ceremonies on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol building, the outgoing President and First Lady leave the Capitol to begin their duties. It is tradition for the President’s departure to take place with little ceremony.

6. Signing Ceremony

The first official action taken by the new President of the United States occurs in the President’s Room in the U.S. Capitol. After Donald and Melania Trump depart, Joe Biden will gather with members of Congress to sign nominations and sometimes executive orders, proclamations, or memorandums.

7. Inaugural Luncheon

After Joe Biden has taken the oath of office and delivered his Inaugural Address, he will be escorted to Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol for the traditional Inaugural Luncheon hosted by the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies. This tradition dates as far back as 1897, however, it did not begin in its current form until 1953.

8. Pass In Review

After the Inaugural Ceremonies and the Luncheon, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will make their way to the East Front steps of the Capitol building where they will review the assembled troops before leading a procession of ceremonial military regiments, citizens’ groups, marching bands, and floats down Pennsylvania Avenue (JCCIC). Following this, the President, Vice President, their spouses, and special guests will then watch the parade as it passes in front of the Presidential Reviewing Stand.

(Contributed by Megan Johnson, Marketing Intern at VotingSmarter)



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