Everything you need to know about Joe Biden's inauguration

Things will kick off at around 4.30pm Irish time and we have everything you need to know about inauguration day right here.
Everything you need to know about Joe Biden's inauguration

Flags are placed on the National Mall, with the U.S. Capitol behind them, ahead of the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, Monday, Jan. 18, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

All eyes will be on Washington DC today as US President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated.

Mr Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris arrived in DC yesterday where they attended a vigil to mark the national tragedy of the coronavirus pandemic as the death toll surpassed 400,000.

Today's historic inauguration will be dramatically different from previous ones as the pandemic has resulted in the ceremony being scaled back with many events taking place virtually for the first time.

Things will kick off at around 4.30pm Irish time and we have everything you need to know about inauguration day right here.

Swearing-in (4.30pm) 

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will begin their term as President and Vice President at noon ET. Picture: AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will begin their term as President and Vice President at noon ET. Picture: AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

Each elected president's term officially begins at noon on January 20.

Opening remarks will begin at 11.30am ET and both Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will take the oath of office before midday.

The oath is a 35-word statement: “I do solemnly swear 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.” 

The majority of presidents add the words "so help me God" to the end.

Chief Justice John Roberts will swear in the president while Justice Sonya Sotomayor will swear in the vice president.

Once Mr Biden has taken his oath he will take his place as the 46th president of the United States.

The swearing in ceremony will feature performances by Lady Gaga, who will sing The Star-Spangled Banner, and Jennifer Lopez.

An original poem will be read by Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman.

Who will and won't be attending?

Former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton and former first ladies Michelle Obama, Laura Bush and Hillary Clinton are expected to attend.

Former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton and former first ladies Michelle Obama, Laura Bush and Hillary Clinton are expected to attend.

Outgoing president Donald Trump and his wife Melania will not be attending today's ceremony.

Mr Trump will be the first president since Andrew Johnson in 1869 to not attend his successor's inauguration.

The tradition began with George Washington and is a way to signify the peaceful transition of power.

Instead, Donald Trump left Washington this morning in a grand airbase ceremony that he helped plan himself.

He will travel to Florida instead of attending the inauguration.

While Mr Trump has opted out of the ceremony, Vice President Mike Pence will be in attendance along with most members of Congress.

Traditionally, the lawmakers would have hundreds of tickets that they could give to family, friends and constituents. This year, they are each allowed to bring one guest.

Former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton and former first ladies Michelle Obama, Laura Bush and Hillary Clinton are expected to attend.

Former President Jimmy Carter, 96, and former first lady Rosalynn Carter, 93, will not be attending but have sent their best wishes.

Inaugurations are usually a day of celebration with thousands of people travelling to the Capitol for the occasion.

This year, Mr Biden and Ms Harris urged supporters to stay home and enjoy the occasion safely from their homes.

About 200,000 small U.S. state and territorial flags have been installed on the National Mall, representing those who can’t attend.

Will security be enhanced given the recent trouble?

National Guard troops reinforce security around the U.S. Capitol ahead of the inauguration. Picture: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

National Guard troops reinforce security around the U.S. Capitol ahead of the inauguration. Picture: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Washington has been on edge since the deadly insurrection at the Capitol, which has prompted extraordinary security measures ahead of Mr Biden’s inauguration.

The US Secret Service tightened security in and around the Capitol days earlier than usual in preparation, and the city centre is essentially on lockdown, with streets blocked, high fencing installed and tens of thousands of troops and law enforcement officers stationed around the area.

Presidential speech 

President-elect Joe Biden, accompanied by Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, speaks about economic recovery at The Queen theater, Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

President-elect Joe Biden, accompanied by Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, speaks about economic recovery at The Queen theater, Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

After he has been sworn in, Joe Biden will address the nation for the first time as President.

The speech is designed to set the tone of the new administration.

It is likely that Mr Biden will focus on themes of unity and healing.

Both during and after the election, he emphasised that he would be a president for both those who voted for him and those who didn't.

The insurrection at the Capitol on January 6 is evidence of the deep divide in the country which has seen over 400,000 people lose their lives to Covid-19 in less than a year.

There will be great interest in seeing how the newly elected president will attempt to unite the people even as many still believe unfounded claims that the election was "stolen".

What happens after the speech?

U.S. Marine Corps. hold the damaged Capitol doors during a rehearsal for the 59th inaugural ceremony. Picture: Melina Mara/The Washington Post via AP, Pool

U.S. Marine Corps. hold the damaged Capitol doors during a rehearsal for the 59th inaugural ceremony. Picture: Melina Mara/The Washington Post via AP, Pool

The first order of business for the new commander in chief is the inspection of the troops.

Mr Biden will make his way to the other side of the Capitol for the traditional Pass in Review ceremony.

Each branch of the US military will be represented in a socially distant manner.

The Bidens, Ms Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, will take part in a wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. They will be joined by the former presidents and first ladies.

Following this, it is tradition to hold a congressional lunch. Due to health concerns surrounding Covid-19, this will not take place.

Instead, it is understood that Mr Biden will take care of some business before leaving the Capitol.

Will the parade take place? (8.15pm) 

About 200,000 small U.S. state and territorial flags have been installed on the National Mall, representing those who can’t attend.

About 200,000 small U.S. state and territorial flags have been installed on the National Mall, representing those who can’t attend.

There will be an inaugural parade down Pennsylvania Avenue but this has been drastically scaled back.

Mr Biden will receive a presidential escort after visiting the Arlington National Cemetery.

Rather than the 1.6 mile route to the White House of that previous inaugural parades have taken, Mr Biden will be escorted just a few hundred yards.

Every branch of the military will participate in the escort and will be socially distanced throughout.

The parade will include 1,391 virtual participants, 95 horses and nine dogs.

Virtual parades will be televised and live-streamed and will feature musical acts, poets and dance troops. They will also pay tribute to those on the frontline of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Closing the virtual parade will be the band New Radicals, who will reunite for the first time in 22 years.

The band will perform their 1998 hit You Get What You Give.

It is thought that the band were asked to perform on the special occasion because the song has an emotional relevance for the Biden family.

In his book, Promise Me, Dad, Mr Biden said the song became something of an anthem for his late son Beau Biden when he was undergoing treatment for cancer.

"Even though Beau never stopped fighting and his will to live was stronger than most – I think he knew that this day might come.

"The words to the song are: This whole damn world can fall apart. You’ll be ok, follow your heart," Biden wrote.

Will there be an inaugural ball? (1.30am) 

Tom Hanks will host a 90-minute TV special with performances by Bruce Springsteen, John Legend, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Justin Timberlake, Jon Bon Jovi, Demi Lovato and Ant Clemons.

Tom Hanks will host a 90-minute TV special with performances by Bruce Springsteen, John Legend, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Justin Timberlake, Jon Bon Jovi, Demi Lovato and Ant Clemons.

Past inaugurations have been brought to a close with the inaugural ball while various other balls and galas take place around Washington DC.

This year, state Democratic Parties and advocacy groups will hold virtual balls.

Tom Hanks will host a 90-minute TV special with performances by Bruce Springsteen, John Legend, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Justin Timberlake, Jon Bon Jovi, Demi Lovato and Ant Clemons.

According to producers, the program “will showcase the American people’s resilience, heroism, and unified commitment to coming together as a nation to heal and rebuild.” 

Where can I watch?

RTÉ One will be kicking off their coverage from 3.30pm and will broadcast events from the US until 5.45pm.

You can also stream coverage of the inauguration on these platforms:

Biden's inauguration website 

YouTube 

Facebook 

Twitter 

Twitch

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