WASHINGTON, January 14, 2013 — With one week to go until Inauguration 2013 when President Barack Obama will take his second oath of office, things are moving into high gear with Washington finalizing plans and celebratory events starting on Thursday.
The theme of this year’s inaugural, “Faith in America’s Future” celebrates the perseverance and unity of America, but the 57th Inaugural also celebrates two 150th anniversaries, the Emancipation Proclamation and the capping of the Capitol dome with the Statue of Freedom.
Bands are tuning up, vocal chords are being exercised, the platform for the Inaugural is finished, and behind closed doors some key people are practicing their speeches. And not a minute too soon. Activities start on Thursday and while this year’s Inaugural will be less gala and more restrained, with only two official balls and not ten, everyone still plans to have a good time from parties and fashion shows to parades to concerts.
Here is a list of what is planned, some free, some requiring free tickets, and some pricey:
Thursday, January 17 – Citizen Diplomats Honored
Held in the International Hall of Flags at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Sister Cities International Inaugural Gala will highlight the efforts of citizen diplomats who promote peace around the world. Tickets are $250.
Saturday, January 19 – National Day of Service
In honor of the legacy of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the National Day of Service, Americans are encouraged to participate in service events and activities in their own communities. On this day, thousands of volunteers will assemble care kits for U.S. military service members, veterans and first responders.
Sunday, January 20 – Private Swearing in of the President
In 1933, the 20th Amendment of the Constitution established that January 20 would be the start of a Presidential term. Because Inauguration Day falls on a Sunday this year, the President will be sworn in during a small private ceremony a day before the public ceremony. President Obama will use a Bible that belongs to the family of First Lady Michelle Obama.The ceremony is open only to selected guests, friends and family.
Sunday, January 20 — Presidential Inaugural Fashion Show
As the nation gathers in Washington, D.C. for the Inaugural, DC Fashion Week hosts the Washington Presidential Inaugural Fashion Show at the Crystal City Doubletree Hotel, showcasing some of the city’s best fashion designers. Designers who will be featured include Ean Williams (Corjor International), Olga Margison (Concept OM), Mariam Heydari (Heydari Design), Jahi’ Fitzgerald (EVOLI Fac’cion), Jovanna Reyes, Qristyl Frazier, Tatiana Kolina (sPACYcLOUd), and others. Sponsors for this event are Shy Magazine, the Crystal City Doubletree Hotel, and the Embassy of Nigeria. General Admission is $60 and Premiere Seating at $120 a person is sold out
Monday, January 21 — Second Inauguration of Barack Obama
The Swearing-in Ceremony and the inaugural address will take place on the West steps of the U.S. Capitol. President Obama will take the oath of office with two bibles belonging to President Abraham Lincoln and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. No tickets are required to watch the swearing-in ceremonies from the National Mall that stretches to the Washington Monument. However, humongous television screens will be place throughout the mall.
Monday, January 21 – Inaugural Luncheon and Parade
Following the Swearing-in ceremony and inaugural address, the President, the Vice-President, and guests will attend the Inaugural Luncheon inside the Capitol, hosted by the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies.
The Presidential Inaugural Parade, which will include members from all branches of military, marches down Pennsylvania Avenue NW at 2 p.m. The parade is free and tickets are not required for the parade, but they are required for bleacher seating, which extends from 3rd to 17th Streets. However, all parade and event attendees should expect to undergo thorough security screenings.
This year President Obama announced the number of inaugural balls would be reduced to just two official parties in an effort to reduce government spending. The first official ball is the Commander-in-Chief’s Ball at the Washington Convention center, which is open to select members of the US military. The second is the Inaugural Ball, also at the Washington Convention Center. A limited number of tickets were released to the public but are no longer available.
Many state, corporate, and private balls are held in hotels and museums around D.C. Most are sold out.
Tuesday, January 22 — National Prayer Service
One day after the swearing-in ceremony, President Obama and Vice President Biden along with dignitaries and representatives from many faiths will attend the interfaith Inaugural National Prayer Service at the Washington National Cathedral. The service will feature prayers, readings, and musical performances. The event is by invitation only, but it will be streamed live at the National Cathedral’s website. The tradition of the National Prayer Service began in 1933 with President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
The Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC) explained that “The beginning of President Obama’s second term will be marked by the acknowledgement and celebration of the role of people of faith in American life. President Obama’s own faith has played an integral role in his life, his commitment to service and his presidency, and this important tradition will celebrate the values and diversity that make us strong.”
The Cathedral also has a special exhibit, “Presidents at the Cathedral,” chronicling the past visits of U.S. presidents over the Cathedral’s 105-year history. The exhibit which opened this month is available for Cathedral visitors in the nave and on the Cathedral’s website.
Tuesday, January 22 — Congress Is In Session
After the Inaugural, it will be business as usual in the Capital. According to the calendar released by Congressional Majority Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the House of Representatives will be back in session Tuesday and Wednesday with votes scheduled. Then it will take a recess until Feb. 4. The Senate did not specify when it will reconvene, although it is officially in session being at the Capitol for the Inauguration.
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