(WWLP) – The inauguration of the 46th President of the United States and all the associated events will be much different than normal Wednesday.
The inauguration looks different this year due to the current political climate and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Usually, around 200,000 tickets are issued for ceremonies at the Capitol, along with batches of tickets for congress to share with constituents. None of those will be issued this year. Biden has even encouraged his supporters to stay home.
The decision was made in response to law enforcement agencies urging people not to travel there for the inauguration. The few people that will be there will be practicing social distancing.
The national mall is on lockdown due to COVID-19 and security concerns so instead of hundreds-of-thousands of people, 200,000 flags fill the area representing everyone who could not travel for the ceremony.
Several bridges connecting DC and Virginia are closed as well.
Another major difference is, for the first time in more than 150 years is the outgoing president will not attend his successor’s swearing-in. In addition to that, Vice President Mike Pence will not be attending President Trump’s farewell but will be attending the inauguration.
The inauguration procedure is largely governed by tradition, rather than the constitution. The only constitutionally required procedure is the Presidential Oath of Office and that can technically be performed anywhere and at any time before the beginning of the President’s term at Noon.
This year, despite the numerous challenges, the ceremony itself will largely adhere to tradition.
It will begin around 11 a.m. with an invocation by the Reverend Leo O’Donovan. The prayer will be followed by the Pledge of Allegiance and the Star-Spangled Banner, performed by Lady Gaga.
Amanda Gorman, the country’s first Youth Poet Laureate, will read a poem she wrote for the occasion called “The Hill We Climb.”
Following the National Anthem, Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris will be sworn in by Supreme Court Justice Sonya Sotomayor, who also swore in Biden as Vice President in 2013.
The ceremony will confirm Harris as the first woman and the first Black and Asian American to serve as Vice President.
Unlike the Presidential Oath, the words of the Vice Presidential oath are not specified in the constitution, but the form which will be used today has been the standard since 1884.
She will be sworn-in using two bibles, one that belonged to a friend and one that belonged to Thurgood Marshall, America’s first African American Supreme Court Justice.
After the Vice President’s Oath of Office, President-Elect Biden will take center stage at the Capitol’s West Front, where inauguration ceremonies have been held since 1981.
The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court has administered the President’s oath since 1797 and the Inauguration of President John Adams.
Biden will reportedly perform the oath with his hand on a 127-year-old, five-inch thick Biden family bible which will be held by his wife, Dr. Jill Biden.
Following his oath of office, Biden will perform the most memorable part of the inauguration ceremony, the inaugural address.
The theme of this year’s speech will be “America United.”