WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris have officially taken office Wednesday.
The 59th presidential inauguration in U.S. history remains underway, with several events slated for the afternoon and evening.
This year’s inaugural theme “America United” aims to restore “the soul of America,” bring the country together and create “a path to a brighter future.”
While Americans have been discouraged from traveling to the nation’s capital due to threats of possible violence following the deadly Capitol riots earlier this month, the Presidential Inaugural Committee has offered many ways for citizens to celebrate from home in the lead up to, and following, the swearing-in ceremony.
With a handful of virtual events, Americans are encouraged to honor the tradition with “a diverse array of inspiring speakers and community leaders across the country,” the committee said.
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump has left the White House for the final time as president.
He held a departure ceremony early Wednesday at Joint Base Andrews in suburban Maryland before traveling to Florida, where he’ll begin his post-presidency at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach. The farewell event included a red carpet, a military band and a 21-gun salute.
Full Inauguration Day schedule:
10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. EST: Our White House: An Inaugural Celebration for Young Americans
The committee hosted a livestream for young Americans before and during the inaugural ceremonies. Entertainer and advocate Keke Palmer hosted the event, and it included a special message from Dr. Jill Biden as well as commentary from historians Doris Kearns Goodwin and Erica Armstrong Dunbar. It also included segments produced by Nickelodeon and the Library of Congress, excerpts of student voices from PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs “We the Young People” programming, and trivia questions.
Biden and Harris were sworn in at the inaugural ceremony and deliver their inaugural address. The event took place on the West front of the U.S. Capitol building, with health and safety protocols in place to protect public health. In-person attendance is limited to Congress. The National Park Service and the Secret Service have shut down the National Mall from last Friday through Thursday, and access to the Washington Monument has been closed for two weeks.
Pass in Review
Following the ceremony, a Pass in Review is held on the East front with members of the military. It’s a longstanding military tradition that reflects the peaceful transfer of power to a new commander-in-chief.
Wreath Laying at Arlington National Cemetery
Joe Biden, Jill Biden, Kamala Harris and Doug Emhoff visited Arlington National Cemetery Wednesday to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. They were joined by President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, President George W. Bush and Laura Bush, and President Bill Clinton and Secretary Hillary Clinton.
Joe Biden will receive a presidential escort from 15th Street to the White House. Every branch of the military will be represented, including The U.S. Army Band, a Joint Service Honor Guard, and the Commander-in-Chief’s Guard and Fife and Drum Corps from the 3rd U.S. Infantry “The Old Guard.”Trump to leave Washington on morning of Biden’s inauguration
TBD: Virtual Parade Across America
A televised “Parade Across America” will feature “diverse, dynamic performances in communities across the country,” the committee said.
8:30 p.m. EST: Celebrating America Primetime Special
Actor Tom Hanks is hosting a 90-minute special featuring remarks from Biden and Harris, as well as performances that the inaugural committee described as representing “the rich diversity and extensive talent America” has to offer. “Celebrating America” will include appearances from Ant Clemons, Jon Bon Jovi, Foo Fighters, John Legend, Eva Longoria, Demi Lovato, Bruce Springsteen, Justin Timberlake and Kerry Washington.
The event will be livestreamed on NewsNationNow.com.
For more information about the 2021 inaugural schedule, visit the committee’s website.