This Is What Happens At The US President’s Inauguration Day Ceremony
The whole world is talking about President-elect Donald Trump’s swearing in and inauguration day ceremony. President-elect Donald Trump himself is talking about it (and I’m pretty sure he’s talking about it a lot more than most Americans are). So, what exactly is the swearing-in ceremony and what happens at Inauguration Day? It’s not anybody’s guess.
It’s pretty structured and formatted. This is what it’s like.
The President-elect’s swearing-in is always held on January 20, every four years; unless it falls on a Sunday, in which case, a private swearing-in is followed by a public ceremony held the next day.
The oath is 35-words long and is specified in Article II, Section 1 of the U.S Constitution.
“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
The phrase ‘solemnly swear’ can be substituted by ‘affirm’.
The oath is taken on a Bible; although it’s not a constitutional requirement. Donald Trump is supposed to be using two Bibles—one that Abraham Lincoln used for his inaugural back in 1861, and one that was gifted to him by his mother as a child. The Bible is then held by the spouse, in this case, Melania Trump.
There is a worship service held on the morning of January 20 for the President-elect, post which he goes to the White House to meet the President for coffee. Together, they then accompany each other to the Capitol. The official ceremony is set to start at 11:30 a.m. sharp at the Capitol’s West Front. Six religious leaders are part of this ceremony that includes a Catholic cardinal, Black, Hispanic protestant leaders and a Jewish Rabi who pray together.
The ceremony sees the country’s leading decision-makers gather together in one venue for a few hours to witness the swearing-in of their president, while another cabinet minister, member of the U.S. Congress and another aide are flown out of the capital city to an undisclosed location. This is to ensure that in case of a catastrophe, the nation still has three political leaders left.
The oath is administered at 12 noon sharp and a 45-pound aluminium briefcase, containing the code of the formidable U.S. nuclear arsenal, changes hands during this time. After the oath, the U.S. Marine Band plays ‘Hail The Chief’ and the newly-sworn-in president is saluted with 21 guns.
The old President, along with his family, is immediately flown out of the Capitol while the new First Family attends a traditional luncheon.
Photo: © Reuters