The U.S. Presidential Inauguration is the second most important political event in the nation. It comes after the first which is the presidential election. The inauguration like the election usually occurs once every four years. The inauguration is a ceremony that occurs every term even when the President is re-elected. The previous inauguration was on January 20, 2017, and it was the inauguration of President Donald Trump. The next inauguration will happen on the 21st of January, 2021, and it will be the ceremony that swears in Joe Biden as the President of the United States.
Each inauguration is different in its own way; however, there are staple moments and highlights of the U.S. Presidential Inauguration that occur every single time. These moments are traditions that are precious and vital to the history of the United States. Here are some of the highlights of the presidential inauguration.
- Inaugural Speech – One of the most notable moments of the presidential inauguration is the speech given by the President-Elect. At Barack Obama’s first inauguration in 2009, he gave a speech that lasted 18 minutes and 58 seconds. At Donald Trump’s 2017 inauguration he gave a speech that lasted 17 minutes and 49 seconds. These speeches are notable because they are often the first time the President addresses the nation after assuming their political position. These speeches are often heartwarming, promoting unity, perseverance, and other American ideals.
- Timing – The inauguration always takes place at noon EST. At exactly noon, the president-elect becomes the President. The date is also the same. Since 1937, every single presidential inauguration has taken place on the 20th of January except for three occasions where the date happened to be on a Sunday. On those occasions, a private ceremony administering the presidential oath of office is held before a public ceremony is then held the next day, which is usually a Monday.
- The Inaugural Parade – It is not a presidential inauguration without the inaugural parade. The parade includes a short drive where the President and their family wave to the people who have come to watch the presidential inauguration. It occurs after the oaths have been taken and the inaugural luncheon is over. The President and their escorts will drive down Pennsylvania Avenue to the White house.
- Location – Most presidential inaugurations have been held in Washington DC at the Capitol building. Since Ronald Reagan’s inauguration in 1981, the inaugural ceremony has been held out on Capitol’s west front. This was done for two reasons—the first being to reduce the cost of the inauguration and the second being to ensure there was a lot more space for spectators.
- The Presidential Oath of Office – The administration of the presidential oath of office is the only part of the presidential inauguration that is required by the constitution. This oath is always taken on the 20th of January regardless of whether it is a Sunday or not. This is a necessity, and it marks the exact moment the President-Elect becomes the President.