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Your Guide To The 2009 Presidential Inauguration of Barack Obama

Learning About The Presidency


Most of us won't be in Washington, D.C. for the historic inauguration of Barack Obama on 20 January 2009. But that doesn't mean that we can't participate virtually. As Obama said recently, "You don't have to brave the crowds and commotion in order to participate in this celebration." Here's our guide to how you can experience Barack Obama's inauguration.

The Official Schedule

The Presidential Inaugural Committee provides a full schedule of events for each of the four days. You can also access schedule information on the U.S. Senate website, courtesy of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies.

Sunday, 18 January - Lincoln Memorial

Inaugural week begins with a public celebration at the Lincoln Memorial. Watch the event on HBO or or watch it on HBO Online.

Monday, 19 January - Children's Concert

On Monday evening, Michelle Obama and Jill Biden are hosting a free inaugural concert to honor the children of military families. The concert will be broadcast on the Disney Channel at 8 pm (EST), simulcast on Radio Disney and streamed on Disney.com.

Tuesday, 20 January - Inauguration Ceremony

The swearing-in ceremony at 11.30 am (EST) will be covered by all major networks. Of course, you can watch it on the Obama/Biden Inauguration Website (requires Microsoft Silverlight). Here are other (non-traditional) ways to watch it online:

Tuesday, 20 January - News Coverage

Mainstream media are not to be outdone by those upstart websites!

Tuesday, 20 January - Inaugural Parade

The 56th Inaugural Parade will make its way down Pennsylvania Avenue from the Capitol to the White House with groups traveling from all over the country to participate. Although there is no official start time for the parade, it traditionally begins around 2:30 p.m.

Tuesday, 20 January - The Balls

There are 10 inaugural balls scheduled. President Obama is host the first-ever Neighborhood Inaugural Ball, with tickets available free or at an affordable price. ABC will air the event live from 8:00-10:00 p.m. ET.

Tickets for the other balls are $150.00.

Wednesday, 21 January - National Prayer Service

The newly-inaugurated President and Vice President of the United States will join with dignitaries and Americans of diverse faiths to celebrate the previous day's events through prayer, readings, and musical performances. Reverend Dr. Sharon Watkins will be the first woman to deliver the sermon at this traditional Inaugural event, held at the National Cathedral. This event is by invitation only.

Social Networking Sites

The 2008 election was the first to make extensive use of new media technologies. Here are some social networking sites focused on the inauguration:

How Much Does It Cost?

Other than the swearing-in ceremony, events and festivities associated with a presidential inauguration are not government functions and are not paid for with taxpayer money.

Barack Obama's inauguration team disclosed the names of all donors who gave more than $200 as well as those who bundled donations. As of 14 January, the committee had raised $35.3 million, with 80 percent coming from 211 individual "bundlers". The 2005 inauguration for President George W. Bush cost $42.3 million; the 1993 inauguration for President Bill Clinton cost $33 million.

How Many People Will Be There?

The record for the largest inaugural crowd belongs to Lyndon B. Johnson, whose inauguration drew 1.2 million in 1965. The Washington Post reported that the Secret Service expects from from 1.5 to 2 million for the Obama inauguration.
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