What will Biden’s inauguration look like?

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Jamilla Zuniga

America’s political landscape will shift once again with the upcoming inaugural ceremony.

On January 20, President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will be sworn in at the West Front of the Capitol. As previously announced by the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies (JCCIC), the ceremony’s theme is “Our Determined Democracy: Forging a More Perfect Union.” 

While the oath itself will be taken traditionally, it was confirmed in December that much of the ceremony will be moved online due to the ongoing pandemic. Only about 1,000 attendees will be present. 

“It will be very easy for someone to get sick if they held the ceremony regularly…it is important to set an example as a political leader by adhering to safety guidelines,” said Sophia Blackwood (‘21).  

James Clyburn, House Majority Whip and chair of Biden’s inaugural committee, confirmed upcoming inaugural festivities to be “80% virtual,” emulating aspects of the DNC.  

As a traditional part of the peaceful transfer of power, there will still be a “pass in review” ceremony. A virtual parade will be hosted in place of the usual procession down Pennsylvania Avenue. 

Security will be much more extensive than it had been during the Capitol riot. Deemed a National Special Security Event (NSSE), the event will involve various federal agencies and law enforcement officials in the creation of a wide security perimeter. The U.S. Secret Service also released a statement emphasizing their preparation in “[ensuring] a safe and secure” ceremony. 

“Heightened security is definitely important. If the Capitol rioters were willing to try to harm the senators, there’s unfortunately little doubt that they’ll try to harm Biden as a last-ditch attempt to overturn election results,” said Angela Qian (‘23). 

The inauguration will also include a memorial for victims to COVID-19. It will take place on January 19 and will involve a lighting ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool. 

Trump announced Friday that he will not be attending the Inaugural Day event, making him the first departing president since 1869 to do so.

The Inaugural Day event will be available for television viewing on most major networks like ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, PBS, and CNN. It will also be shown on the official White House website and streamed through YouTube.