Inauguration Day 2021

January 20

The new terms of office of the president and vice-president officially begin at noon in Washington DC.

On Inauguration Day the candidates, who won the elections in the previous year, are sworn into office as president and vice-president of the United States. The swearing-in ceremony takes place at the U.S. Capitol and is organized by the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies. It is usually followed by a parade along Pennsylvania Avenue.

The new president watches the parade from the presidential viewing stand in front of the White House. The route of the parade is often lined by thousands of people.

Background

The head of state of the USA has been a president since 1789. In that year, George Washington was elected and inaugurated as president of the United States of America. He was inaugurated for the first time on April 30, 1789, and for the second time on March 4, 1793. Subsequent inaugurations were held on March 4 until the second inauguration of President Franklin Roosevelt on January 20, 1937. Since then Inauguration Day has been held on January 20 and the term of office officially starts at 12:00 noon on that date.

Usually, the vice-president is sworn in first and the president at exactly 12:00 noon. After they have been sworn in, the president and vice-president are given four ruffles and flourishes. The ruffles are played on drums and the flourishes on bugles, which are simple brass instruments with no valves. The ruffles and flourishes form a fanfare before a performance of the president's anthem, "Hail to the Chief", and the vice-president's anthem, "Hail, Columbia". There is then a 21-gun salute from the howitzers of the military district of Washington.

After the ceremony, the president and vice-president are guests of honor at a luncheon given by the United States Congress. Later in the day, they parade down Pennsylvania Avenue and walk part of the way from the Capitol to the White House.

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