Your Inaugural Guide
Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 08:00:04 AM PST
With his “whistle stop” train journey from Philadelphia complete, today is the start of three days of celebration in Washington D.C., leading up to the inauguration of President-Elect Barack Obama this Tuesday. And whether you will be there in person, or watching from home or at work, here’s a guide on what’s happening, and how you can participate wherever you are, along with some handy information for those who will be braving the crowds and the cold.
In less than three hours, the We Are One celebration kicks off at the Lincoln Memorial, with President-Elect Obama and Vice President-Elect Biden in attendance. Beginning at 2:30 (EST), there will be readings from Jamie Foxx, Martin Luther King III, Queen Latifah and Denzel Washington, and musical performances by Bono, Bruce Springsteen, Mary J. Blige, Herbie Hancock, and Stevie Wonder, among others.
- While HBO owns the exlusive rights, they’ve made it available for free to television service providers across the country, so check your local listings, or watch it at HBO.com.
- If you’d like to attend, the event is free and open to the public, with entrances at: Constitution Avenue at 19th Street, Constitution Avenue at Virginia Avenue, 17th Street at North Elm Walk, 17th Street at South Elm Walk, Independence Avenue at the DC War Memorial. Space will also be available on a first-come, first-served basis at the Reflecting Pool area, JFK Hockey Fields and Constitution Gardens.
Also, beginning today and running throughout the next three days, the Presidential Inaugural Committee and The Trust for the National Mall, will run a public service announcement that “raises awareness about the current disrepair of the National Mall and urges Americans to help contribute to the restoration of this national treasure.”
“President-elect Obama believes that the National Mall belongs to every American, and that each of us can play a role in helping restore and preserve it for future generations … we are proud to broadcast the Trust for the National Mall’s PSA to help raise awareness of the needs of this iconic park.” said Josh Earnest, PIC Communications Director.
You can watch the video here.
Monday marks the Renew America Together: National Day of Service, where the Obama and Biden families will participate in volunteer service, while asking you take part in events in your own community. There are already more than 10,000 service events scheduled across the country, and you can visit USAservice.org to find one in your area.
On Monday night, Michelle Obama and Jill Biden will host the “Kids’ Inaugural: We Are The Future,” concert to honor military families. The event will be broadcast on the Disney Channel, simulcast on Radio Disney and streamed on Disney.com, beginning at 8:00 (EST). Performing will be the Jonas Brothers, and Miley Cyrus, among others.
The day we’ve all been waiting for. Beginning at 11:30 (EST), the official inauguration ceremony will begin on the West front of the U.S. Capitol, with music, speakers, and the swearing in of Vice President-Elect Joseph Biden. And at 12:00, President-Elect Barack Hussein Obama will take the oath of office:
I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of the President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.
He will be sworn in by Chief Justice of the United States, John Roberts, Jr., using the same bible Abraham Lincoln used at his own inauguration in 1861.
President Obama will then deliver his inaugural address, after which he will escort George W. Bush to a departure ceremony (and a dark cloud will lift and slowly drift towards Texas).
Beginning at approximately 2:30 (EST), the 56th Inaugural Parade will begin from the Capitol, making its way down Pennsylvania Avenue before ending at the White House.
If you plan to attend the ceremony and/or parade, maps, locations of food and restrooms, and a list of prohibited items can be found here.
On Tuesday night, beginning at 8:00 (EST), and airing exclusively on ABC, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will attend the first of their 10 inaugural balls, and this is one that you can take part in, no matter where you are:
The Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC) announced interactive features using Internet and text technology to bring neighborhoods from across the country together in celebration during the Neighborhood Inaugural Ball …
… There will also be live blogging from the Convention Center, so people can follow along online and get behind the scenes scoop. Finally, neighborhood parties across America will be able to participate in the main event via both text message and online video. People will be able to text in photos of their events and send video – both of which could appear in the television program.
Beginning at 8:30 a.m. (EST), at the National Cathedral:
The newly-inaugurated President and Vice President of the United States will join with dignitaries and Americans of diverse faiths to celebrate the previous day’s events through prayer, readings, and musical performances. Reverend Dr. Sharon Watkins will be the first woman to deliver the sermon at this traditional Inaugural event. This event is by invitation only.
- Here’s all you’ll need to use Washington D.C.’s outstanding public transportation, the Metro: A map of the stations and lines, a schedule, and an easy how-to-use guide.
- On Inauguration Day:
Metrorail will operate rush hour service for 17 consecutive hours (4 a.m. to 9 p.m.), will stay open for two extra hours (until 2 a.m.), charge $4 for parking at its facilities…
The U.S. Secret Service has deemed the Inauguration a special national security event and due to security measures, the Archives-Navy Memorial-Penn Quarter station on Metro’s Green/Yellow Lines and the Smithsonian station on the Blue/Orange Lines, will be closed on Inauguration Day, Tuesday, January 20. They will open after the parade, approximately at 6:30 p.m. Judiciary Square station on the Red Line will close at 4 p.m. and Mt Vernon Sq 7th St-Convention Center station on the Green/Yellow Lines will close at 7:30 a.m. due to their proximity to locations hosting Inaugural Balls. Both stations are scheduled to reopen at 5 a.m. on Wednesday, January 21.
- You can count on doing a lot of walking, and you can find printable maps with road closures and walking routes here.
- The Presidential Inaugural Committee will be providing mobile updates for all events.
- Courtesy of the District of Columbia, you can sign up for text alerts to receive information on traffic problems, scheduling delays or any emergency that may arise.
- The Washington Post is offering “Survival Alerts,” to keep you up-to-date on the best routes out of the Mall and the city.
- Twitter is offering its users live traffic alerts.
- And it’s going to be a long day with limited food being available, so here’s a dining guide to the various city neighborhoods.
- If you don’t have a T.V., you can watch the Inauguration ceremony here:
The countdown clock is just an added bonus.
- If you want to check in now and then to see how the crowds are looking, check out this webcam for a cool view of the National Mall.
- If you happen to take a great picture during the various events, submit it to the Presidential Inaugural Committee and your photo might make it into the Official Inaugural Book.
- And what about the weather? Well, the bone-chilling cold of the past couple of days is over, but you’re still going to need to bundle up: Sunday, 39/27 with a chance of snow or rain showers; Monday, 31/21 and partly cloudy; and on Tuesday, 31/19 and mostly cloudy.
And finally, the bathroom situation. There will be somewhere between 5,000 and 7,000 port-a-potties located throughout the Mall area, making this:
… the largest temporary restroom event in the history of the United States.
And you thought that watching Barack Obama being sworn in as President of the United States was going to be the historic event you witnessed.
[Note: Unless otherwise sourced, all information provided is from transition team press releases or found at Change.gov]
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