By Eve Nevelos, Editorial Staff (‘24)
A winner has prevailed from the long presidential campaigning process- former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris. After a turbulent election, many Americans hope for a smooth transition into a new administration with Biden. This starts with the inaugural ceremonies: this year’s held on Thursday, January 20, 2021.
What will the inauguration look like during a pandemic? Typically, crowds of the candidate’s supporters and future colleagues rally outside of Capitol Hill to watch the new president be sworn in under oath and listen to the candidate’s first official speech as president. Former President Barack Obama had upwards of 1 million constituents turn out to the historic event. As of now, the 2021 inauguration event is expected to have just 1,000 people in physical attendance, according to the Associated Press. These 1,000 tickets will go to Supreme Court Justices, members of Congress, and their plus-ones (likely spouses and colleagues).
Biden has suggested that the inaugural event will be similar to that of the Democratic National Committee’s event in 2020. Tony Allen, a leading member of Biden’s inaugural team, has said, “Our goal is to create an inauguration that keeps people safe, honors the grand traditions of the Presidency, and showcases the Biden-Harris Administration’s renewed American vision for an inclusive, equitable, and unified citizenry.”
Most mainstream media networks plan to cover Biden’s inauguration. Channels like ABC, Fox News, CBS News, CNN, and MSNBC have officially announced their coverage of the event. The JCCIC Website, C-SPAN, the White House Live Website, the White House Youtube Channel, Univision (Spanish), NPR, Roku, Apple TV, and Fire TV will all also be live-streaming the inauguration at around noon EST.
After January 6’s insurrection at the Capitol over Biden’s nomination confirmation, the security measures and location of the event are subject to change. However, the Congress’ Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies (JCCIC) expects the celebrations to be at 9:30 am EST. The actual inauguration will start around 11:30 am EST on the Western side of the U.S. Capitol building. The location is not anticipated to change due to Ronald Reagan beginning the tradition of using the West Front as the inauguration stage.
Currently, the platform for the ceremony is being built, and preparations for the parade have been underway in Lafayette Square: all being conducted by the National Park Service. Some helicopters, sent out by the Nuclear Security Administration, have been flying low in the sky above Capitol Hill to protect Americans from any potential bomb threats that the day may bring (though this is not expected, it is being done as a standard security precaution).
The JCCIC has decided on the inauguration theme- “Our Determined Democracy: Forging a More Perfect Union.” It is expected that Biden will speak about his plans to bring together the country, combat violent social demonstrations, distribute vaccines, and manage the coronavirus’ spread.
For continually updated information on the inauguration, visit the Senate’s JCCIC inaugural site.