United States of America
January 20, 2009
Tuesday, January 20th 8/7c
In an effort to make this inaugural celebration
accessible to all Americans, President Barack
Obama will host the first-ever "Neighborhood
Inaugural Ball" tonight.
• For more than 200 years America’s
citizens have witnessed the Inauguration
ceremonies of the President and Vice
President of the United States.
• From George Washington’s Inauguration,
in New York City, in 1789, to today, as we
prepare for the 56th quadrennial
Presidential Inauguration, the swearing-in
ceremony represents both national
renewal and continuity of leadership.
• On March 4, 1933, at 10:15 a.m., prior to his
swearing-in ceremony, Franklin & Eleanor
Roosevelt attended a church service at St. John's
Episcopal Church, next to the White House. They did
the same at all of Roosevelt's Inaugurations. His
Inauguration Day worship service set a precedent
that has been followed by Presidents ever since.
• Franklin Roosevelt was not the first President to
attend church on Inauguration Day, however. In
1789, George Washington attended a service at St.
Paul's Chapel in New York City immediately
following his swearing-in ceremony.
• Almost all Presidents since Washington have placed
their hand on a Bible when taking the oath of office.
And all Presidents have included some reference to
the Almighty in their Inaugural addresses.
St. John’s Kennedy Shakes hands with
Father Richard Casey after
Episcopal Church attending Mass at Holy
Attended by Roosevelt, Trinity Catholic Church.
Truman, Reagan, H.W.
Bush, and W. Bush
Procession to the Capitol
• After morning worship service, the President-elect, VP-elect,
and their spouses go to the White House. After a brief
meeting, the President-elect and the outgoing President will
drive together to the Capitol for the swearing-in ceremonies.
This tradition has endured since 1837, when Martin Van
Buren and Andrew Jackson rode together in a carriage.
• Although most presidents rode to their Inaugurations in a
carriage (or later, an automobile), Thomas Jefferson and
Andrew Jackson both walked to their swearing-in
• Lincoln did not join the procession to the Capitol for his
second Inauguration in 1865. He had gone to the Capitol
early that morning to sign last-minute legislation. The parade
proceeded without him, and even made history as African
Americans marched for the first time.
• Today, the Presidential procession to the Capitol for the
swearing-in ceremony follows a protocol, based on the
evolving traditions of past Inaugurations.
Taft and Teddy Roosevelt driving
to the Capitol, 1909
Herbert Hoover and Franklin Roosevelt
riding together on Inauguration Day.
Schedule of Events
• 10:00 AM Preliminary festivities begin,
including music by The United States Marine
Band, The San Francisco Boys Chorus & Girls
• 11:30 AM Call to Order and Welcoming
Remarks: Senator Dianne Feinstein
Invocation: Dr. Rick Warren
Aretha Franklin will sing.
• VP-elect Joe Biden will be sworn into office.
• Music composed by John Williams and
performed by Itzhak Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma,
Gabriela Montero, and Anthony McGill.
Schedule of Events
• 12:00 Noon As specified by the Constitution (20th
Amendment), terms of office begin and end at 12:00
noon on January 20. Barack Obama will take the oath of
office, which is this 36-word, statement: 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
• Barack Obama will give his inaugural address, speaking
to the world, for the first time, as President of the U.S. A
parade follows down Pennsylvania Avenue from the
Capitol to the White House. The start time has not yet
• Many inaugural balls are held around Washington, DC.
They generally take place in the evening; times vary.
New this year is the Commander-in-Chief’s Ball, for men
and women in uniform only.