Whether you support our next president or not, there are certain ceremonies and traditions that go along with inauguration day and they are the same for Republicans and Democrats alike. This years' ceremonies will be very different because of the Covid virus and social distancing.
According to Wikipedia, the 20th amendment to the Constitution specifies that the term of each elected President of The United States begins at noon on January 20th of the year following the election. Each President must take the oath of office before assuming the duties of the position. The Vice President takes his oath first, and then it's the President Elect's turn.
If times were normal, on Wednesday January 20, 2021, the 59th presidential inauguration would take place at the Nation's Capital building. The solemn oath would be administered to President Elect Joe Biden by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Dr. Jill Biden would hold a bible and the President Elect would place his left hand on it, raise his right hand and recite the oath. Only two former presidents have not sworn on a bible. (Theodore Roosevelt and John Quincy Adams).
This is the oath. "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United State, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
Once the oath has been taken, the new president usually delivers his or her) inaugural address to the distinguished guests on the podium and the crowd of people gathered below. Some of the past addresses have been especially moving and we remember significant parts of them...like John Kennedy's "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country." Others are simply long speeches that detail the new president beliefs and/or hopes for the new administration.
The swearing-in ceremony is then followed by a formal congressional luncheon and would feature fine food, celebratory toasts and a presentation of gifts. Once the meal is over, the President and his family would leave the Capital and walk or be driven down Pennsylvania Avenue, waving to the crowds and stopping at the parade viewing box in front of the White House. There, they and their many invited guests would watch the parade that lasts for several hours. George Washington was the first president to order a parade and the tradition has remained ever since.
This year I believe there will be a virtual parade, but at the time of writing this blog, I do not know the details.
In the evening, there used to be inaugural balls all over town. (where the President and First Lady are expected to appear and share a token dance.) These balls lasted late into the night and invitations were highly coveted. I doubt the balls will be held this year because of the fear about social gatherings of ten or more people.
Hopefully by the time of the next inaugural ceremony in four years, we can resume the old traditions.
Even though we may not always approve or even like a particular new president, this country's tradition of the peaceful transition of power is a bedrock of our democracy. We are a nation of laws and traditions. I hope that never changes. May God bless America.
Until my next inspiration...ciao.
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