The historic inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States is now fast upon us. Even if you aren’t making the trip to the capital, there are many ways to participate and follow the festivities from afar.
Here's a brief look at the four-day schedule and some ways to participate (A full schedule can be found here or at the website for the Presidential Inaugural Committee):
Saturday, Barack Obama and Joe Biden went on a whistle-stop train tour starting in Philadelphia, the birthplace of our democracy.
Sunday, Obama helped to kick off the inaugural celebration with an open event at the Lincoln Memorial, featuring an all-star line-up of music artists, including U2, Bruce Springsteen and Usher. The Rt. Reverend V. Gene Robinson gave the invocation.
Monday is Martin Luther King Day. Gen. Colin Powell is leading an effort to promote community involvement and volunteer service with the Renew America Together initiative. Information on activities near you can be found at USAservice.org.
The Obama and Biden families will be participating in D.C. service events in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King. A ‘Kids Inaugural’ concert will be held later that evening in honor of military families. Private dinners honoring Gen. Powell, Sen. John McCain and Joe Biden will also be held.
Tuesday, Jan.20, 2009 is Inauguration Day, including the swearing-in ceremony, a parade and countless inaugural balls.
Swearing-in ceremony festivities commence at 10:00 a.m. EST, 7:00 a.m. PST.
• Invocation: Dr. Rick Warren
• Musical Selection: Aretha Franklin
• Vice President-elect Joseph R. Biden will be sworn into office
• Musical Selection: John Williams with Itzhak Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma , Gabriela Montero and Anthony McGill
• President-elect Barack H. Obama will take the Oath of Office, using President Lincoln’s Inaugural Bible
• Inaugural Address
• President Obama escorts outgoing President George W. Bush to a departure ceremony
• Poem: Elizabeth Alexander
• Benediction: The Reverend Dr. Joseph E. Lowery
• The National Anthem: The United States Navy Band “Sea Chanters"
The 56th Inaugural Parade begins around 2:30 p.m. EST, making its way from the Capitol to the White House.
The ‘Neighborhood Inaugural Ball,’ hosted by President Obama begins at 7:00 p.m. EST and will be broadcast on ABC. The Presidential Inaugural Committee site casts it as “the premier event of the night” with performances by Stevie Wonder, Beyonce and others. Other ‘neighborhood’ parties across the country will also be webcast and linked to.