Nearly 200,000 flags will represent the people who can not attend the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.
Hundreds of thousands of people typically flock to Washington, DC to witness the inauguration of a new president. 1.8 million people attended the inauguration of Barack Obama in 2009. When Donald Trump was sworn in in 2017, the audience was estimated to be significantly lower.
This year, the National Mall, the square in front of the congress building where the president will be sworn in, will be empty of people. The inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris is marked by a pandemic and an unusually high level of security following the storming of the Congress building on January 6th.
Instead of people, this year the National Mall will be covered by about 200,000 flags. They are meant to honour the more than 400,000 Americans who lost their lives during the corona pandemic, writes the newspaper HuffPost. In addition, 56 light pillars will represent all US states and territories.
The swearing-in ceremony is scheduled to take place Wednesday, Jan. 20, on the west front of the US Capitol. Each elected US president’s term starts at noon that day, according to the 20th Amendment to the Constitution. The president-elect is required to take the oath of office before assuming duties. Following the presidential swearing-in ceremony, Biden will deliver his inaugural address. In anticipation of being sworn in, Harris resigned her Senate seat on Monday. California Secretary of State Alex Padilla will fill her seat.
Inaugurations typically include appearances by A-list musicians and performers. This year, there will be a 90-minute TV special hosted by Tom Hanks.
Celebrity performances and appearances include:
- Lady Gaga, singing the national anthem
- Justin Timberlake
- Garth Brooks
- Jennifer Lopez
- Demi Lovato
- Ant Clemons
- Jon Bon Jovi
- John Legend
- Foo Fighters
- Kerry Washington
- Bruce Springsteen
Politicians and religious leaders — such as archbishops, pastors and rabbis — also usually give speeches.
- Invocation: Rev. Leo O’Donovan
- Poetry reading: Amanda Gorman
- Benediction: Rev. Silvester Beaman
- Pledge of Allegiance: Andrea Hall
On January 11th, the Biden Inaugural Committee tweeted that the theme is America United, adding: “At a time of unprecedented crisis and deep divisions, America United reflects the start of a new journey to restore the soul of America, bring the country together, and create a path to a brighter future.”
The president-elect says one of his biggest priorities is working to tackle COVID-19. He has set a goal of 100 million vaccine jabs in the first 100 days of his administration. Biden and Harris have already announced the formation of a COVID-19 advisory board to help shape the upcoming administration’s response to the pandemic. The board consists of 13 public health experts and will be led by co-chairs Dr. David Kessler, a former Food and Drug Administration commissioner; Dr. Vivek Murthy, a former US surgeon general; and Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, a researcher at Yale University.
Biden set the framework for a $1.9 trillion stimulus bill January 14th that includes a third stimulus check for up to $1,400 per person. His proposal also calls for more federal unemployment benefits, raises the minimum wage to $15 per hour and extends eviction protections. Biden is also expected to sign a collection of executive orders right after taking office that could include rejoining the Paris climate change accord.
He also unveiled a plan that aims to ensure the US achieves a 100% clean-energy economy and net-zero emissions by 2050. During the presidential debates, he reiterated that promise in his climate plan.