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Walnut Creek Magazine

Field of Flags

Jan 19, 2021 01:33PM ● By Harper Klein

Update: If you missed the historic event, you can watch recordings on C-Span

Between the raging coronavirus pandemic and the very real threat of violence after the insurrection at the Capitol on January 6, the inauguration of Joe Biden as President and Kamala Harris as Vice President, promises to be one of the most unusual events in American history.

Downtown Washington D.C. has been turned into an armed camp. The National Mall is sealed off to the public, but they are represented by a field of approximately 200,000 flags. Multiple federal law enforcement agencies, alongside D.C. police and over 21,000 National Guard troops, will be on the job on January 20 to protect government officials and dignitaries.  

While the inauguration will lack many of the traditional parades and parties, you can watch the event from wherever you are on January 20. Almost every news channel will have teams in place starting around 7 a.m. California time (10 a.m. in Washington) with continuing coverage throughout the day. C-SPAN will have a live, free feed, with the swearing-in happening at noon.


The swearing-in ceremony and formal address from Biden are expected to take place outside the Capitol.

» Invocation by Jesuit priest Father Leo J. O’Donovan

» The Pledge of Allegiance read by firefighter Andrea Hall

» Lady Gaga sings The National Anthem

» Poetry reading by National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman

» Musical performance by Jennifer Lopez

» Musical performance by Garth Brooks

» Benediction by Reverend Dr. Silvester Beaman

Following the ceremony, Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, and their spouses will participate in the Pass in Review, a formal military proceeding that reflects the peaceful transition of power, a tradition which dates back to 1873.

After that, the new President and Vice President will proceed across the river to Arlington Cemetery, where they and their spouses will be joined by former Presidents and First Ladies Obama, Bush, and Clinton, to honor military personnel.

Actor Tony Goldwyn will host a “virtual parade” celebrating America’s heroes. Other participants include Jon Stewart, professional athletes, the New Radicals, marching bands, and dance troupes.

Starting at 5:30 p.m. in California (8:30 in Washington), a special televised event, Celebrating America, will salute American heroes, including frontline workers, health care workers, and teachers. The show, hosted by Tom Hanks, will be streamed as well as aired on ABC, CBS, CNN, PBS, NBC, and MSNBC. The lineup of remote performers includes Bruce Springsteen, Justin Timberlake, Jon Bon Jovi, Ant Clemons, the Foo Fighters, Demi Lovato, and John Legend. 



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