Preparing for Inauguration Day 2021

4-6 Team students have been preparing for Inauguration Day 2021 by learning about what traditionally occurs on the day, and what will be different this year.

New this year, for example, the evening before Inauguration Day will include a lighting ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial honoring American lives lost due to COVID-19. The ceremony will take place January 19 at 5:30 p.m., and communities across the country are invited to join by lighting buildings and ringing church bells.

The highlight of Inauguration Day is the swearing-in ceremony at the U.S. Capitol Building. Around noon, the vice president-elect and the president-elect take the oath of office followed by the new president’s inaugural address. Presidents use the inaugural address to share their vision and goals for the country. Quotes from some speeches have become quite famous, including:

“We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” — Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1933

“And so my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.”— John F. Kennedy, 1961

The swearing-in ceremony is typically followed by an inaugural luncheon and then a parade from the Capitol down Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House. The parade is led by the new president and vice president and includes ceremonial military groups, marching bands, and floats. In 2021, however, due to COVID-19, there will be a “virtual parade” showcasing communities across the country.

Also new in 2021, the traditional parties and formal dances that typically occur in the evening will be replaced by a primetime television special entitled “Celebrating America.” The program will by hosted by Tom Hanks and feature performances by artists including Ant Clemons, Jon Bon Jovi, Demi Lovato and Justin Timberlake.

For more about the history and traditions of the Inauguration Day, and this year’s ceremonies and events, visit Students are encouraged to view this video on Inauguration Day facts. Student worksheets for grades K-6 can be found on

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