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Inauguration Day: Celebrate The Pomp, Circumstance And History

Written by
Rob Brittain
Published on
November 16, 2020 7:15:00 PM PST November 16, 2020 7:15:00 PM PSTth, November 16, 2020 7:15:00 PM PST

For more than 200 years, Americans have celebrated the Inauguration Day ceremonies for both the President-elect and the Vice President-elect of the United States. Inauguration Day is a federal holiday that occurs every four years on January 20, or on January 21 if January 20 falls on a Sunday. The next U.S. Inauguration Day will occur on Wednesday, January 20, 2021. On that day, the U.S. will celebrate its 59th inaugural ceremonies. 


After George Washington was elected America’s first President, the nation’s first Inauguration Day was held in New York City on April 30, 1789. Today, inauguration ceremonies are celebrated in Washington, D.C., with the majority of Inauguration Day activities taking place at the U.S. Capitol building, the White House grounds and along Pennsylvania Avenue. As prescribed by the 20th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1901, Inauguration Day ceremonies are organized by the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies (JCCIC). 


Filled with ceremony and tradition, Inauguration Day marks a peaceful transfer of power, a continuity of national leadership and a process for initiating national renewal. While Inauguration Day ceremonies have evolved through the years, here are seven events that are commonly included as a part of modern-day Inauguration ceremonies:

  • Procession to the Capitol: Traditionally, the outgoing President and the President-elect share a short ride together from the White House to the Swearing-In Ceremony at the Capitol.
  • Swearing-In Ceremony: First, the Vice-President-elect is sworn into office by repeating the following oath: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.” Second, the President-elect is sworn into office by repeating the following oath: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
  • The Inaugural Address: George Washington began the inaugural address tradition in 1789. Since then, every President has offered an inaugural address. Through the years, those inaugural addresses have been just as unique and varied as the men who have served as President. The shortest address, of just 135 words, was delivered by George Washington on his second Inauguration Day, and the longest address, of 8,445 words, was delivered by William Henry Harrison.
  • Honorary Departure: Immediately after the Swearing-In Ceremonies and the new President’s inaugural address, the former President and First Lady leave the Capitol and begin their post-presidential lives. Recently, a new tradition has begun in which the new President and the new Vice President escort their predecessors out of the Capitol. In addition, following Gerald Ford’s lead in 1977, the former President and First Lady now leave the Capitol area via helicopter if the weather allows.
  • Signing Ceremony: Inside the President’s Room at the U.S. Capitol, the new President gathers with aides and Congress members to sign nominations, executive orders and proclamations.
  • Inaugural Luncheon: In 1953, the JCCIC began hosting a luncheon in the U.S. Capitol’s Statuary Hall to honor the new President and the new Vice President. The menu for the luncheon often features cuisine from the home states of the new President and the new Vice President. Much like at a wedding reception, the luncheon includes celebratory speeches and toasts.
  • Pass in Review: Following the inaugural luncheon, the new President and Vice President walk to the U.S. Capitol’s East Front steps and they review military troops before leading a parade of marching bands, floats, citizen groups and military regiments down Pennsylvania Avenue. When the procession reaches the White House, the President, Vice President, their spouses and guests take their places on the Presidential Reviewing Stand and look on as the parade passes in front of them.


The 59th inaugural ceremonies are certain to be filled with tradition and hope. On January 20, 2021, Carrot Top Industries will join Americans across the country as we proudly fly our American flag at full-staff in observation of Inauguration Day. We will also join our fellow citizens as we celebrate the institution of the American democratic process, as well as the pageantry, pomp and circumstance of this important day in America's history.


To purchase an American flag for your upcoming Inauguration Day festivities, please contact our Customer Care Professionals at 800-628-3524, shop online or send us your product needs by email or through our Contact Our Team online form.


Online Sources: Library of Congress, usa.gov, Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies