WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week’s inauguration is set to be unlike any in American history, with precautions being taken due to the ongoing pandemic and potential threats of violence.
When President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris are sworn into office on Wednesday, the crowd before them will be significantly paired down. Supporters have been asked to watch the ceremony from home, the National Mall will be closed, and the audience is expected to largely consist of lawmakers and their guests.
President Donald Trump has also said he will not attend the ceremony, breaking with a 152-year tradition. The last president who refused to attend a successor’s inauguration was Andrew Johnson in 1869.
Still, the Presidential Inaugural Committee promises that the show will go on and you can expect many of the ceremonial events that have been seen in past inaugurations
The lineup of events
Though, the inaugural committee hasn’t yet set an exact time when Biden and Harris will be sworn in, the ceremony is expected to start at about 11:30 a.m. ET on the west front of the U.S. Capitol building.
Shortly before noon, Harris is set to be sworn in first by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Then at about 12 p.m. ET, Biden will be sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts.
After they take their oaths of office, Biden will deliver his inaugural address. The inaugural committee says he will lay out his vision to defeat the pandemic, “build back better,” and unify and heal the nation.
The ceremony will include an invocation by Father Leo J. O’Donovan, the Pledge of Allegiance recited by Andrea Hall, a national anthem performance by Lady Gaga, a poetry reading by Amanda Gorman, a musical performance by Jennifer Lopez and a benediction by Rev. Dr. Silvester Beaman.
Following the ceremony, Biden and Harris will be joined by their spouses as they participate in a pass in review on the east front with members of the military. Pass and reviews are a long-standing military tradition that reflect the peaceful transfer of power to a new commander-in-chief.
Biden, Harris and their spouses will then visit Arlington National Cemetery to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. They’ll also be accompanied by former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and their wives.
Afterwards, Biden will receive a presidential escort from 15th Street to the White House with every branch of the military present.
The escort will be followed by a “virtual parade across America,” which the inauguration committee says will be televised and feature “diverse, dynamic performances in communities across the country.”
In the evening, a primetime special celebrating the inauguration of Biden and Harris will televised on ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, CNN and PBS, as well as live streamed online. The 90-minute special will be called “Celebrating America” and is set to begin at 8:30 p.m. ET. The program will be hosted by Tom Hanks and will feature Ant Clemons, Jon Bon Jovi, Foo Fighters, John Legend, Eva Longoria, Demi Lovato, Bruce Springsteen, Justin Timberlake, and Kerry Washington.