Explanation of Highlights of the 2021 Presidential Inauguration

On January 20, 2021, the inauguration ceremony of President Biden took place at the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C.

In Japan, it was broadcasted on NHK from around 1:00 am on the 21st, and the inauguration speech of the new president and its impact on Japan were explained in the news and other media outlets.

However, the presidential inauguration is not just about the inaugural speech. It includes the performance of the national anthem and other beloved American songs, as well as a parade that takes place after the inauguration. It is a splendid day filled with various highlights.

So, this time, let me introduce some of the main attractions to enjoy during the presidential inauguration.

Not only the inaugural address, but also the flow of a presidential inauguration ceremony.


According to the 20th Amendment to the United States Constitution, the presidential inauguration takes place at noon on January 20th of the year following the general election. Therefore, the inauguration ceremony itself typically begins around 11:30 am on that same day.

The venue for the ceremony is set up on the west side of the United States Capitol, facing the National Mall, and it is conducted solemnly with the presence of many citizens.

The presidential inauguration is not only observed by media outlets across the United States but also receives global attention, with coverage and broadcasts in countries like Japan. Thus, the inauguration held on January 20th garners significant attention. However, in actuality, the inauguration events begin on the day before, January 19th, and conclude on the Sunday immediately following the inauguration.

On the day before the inauguration, the incoming president participates in the pre-inaugural ceremony in front of the Lincoln Memorial. The following day, the inauguration ceremony takes place in front of the Capitol, followed by a luncheon at the Statuary Hall, the signing of documents in Congress for the first official duties, the inaugural parade, and an evening official dinner at the White House. Additionally, on the first Sunday after the inauguration, a civic worship service is held at the Washington National Cathedral. These events require attendance from the new president, thus extending the inauguration activities beyond the inauguration ceremony itself.

The flow of events from the pre-inaugural ceremony to the moments leading up to the inauguration ceremony.

On the eve of the inauguration, the incoming president delivers a speech to the public in front of the Lincoln Memorial. Following the speech, fireworks are launched, creating a spectacle witnessed by many citizens. The president-elect then enters the memorial.

On the morning of the inauguration day, the president-elect enters the White House for the first time officially. They have a meeting with the outgoing president, cabinet members, and other officials in the Blue Room. Afterward, they travel from the North Portico of the White House to the Capitol in separate vehicles.

Note: It’s important to mention that while some elements described here may align with historical practices, please note that specific details of future inaugurations may vary and are subject to change.


By the way, the car that the incoming president rides in during this time is equipped with a Washington D.C. license plate with the inscription “800-002” or a special inauguration plate featuring a white Capitol dome on a blue background. At this point, since the president-elect has not yet taken office, the plate displays only the president’s number rather than “USA1”.

The route to the Capitol starts after leaving the White House grounds, heading south on East Executive Avenue, passing the south side of the Department of the Treasury, and reaching Pennsylvania Avenue, which is situated on the north side of the Department of Commerce.

From there, the procession continues a short distance east on Constitution Avenue before turning right at the intersection with Delaware Avenue, leading to the entrance of the Senate and the basement level of the Capitol.

Afterward, the car proceeds through the hallway, passing through the center of the Crypt directly below the central dome and Rotunda, then turning right to enter the venue of the inauguration ceremony.

The presidential inauguration ceremony is conducted in a worship-style.


The United States, which upholds the separation of church and state in its constitution, accommodates the religious beliefs of the president during the inauguration ceremony, which is conducted in a worship-style format.

The flow of the inauguration ceremony is as follows:

The order of events for the presidential inauguration ceremony

Opening Remarks: The ceremony begins with opening remarks from the designated official or master of ceremonies.

Invocation: An invocation, or opening prayer, is typically offered to invoke a sense of guidance and blessing for the proceedings.

Entrance of the Vice President: To the accompaniment of the song “Hail Columbia,” the incumbent Vice President enters the venue.

Entrance of the President: To the accompaniment of the song “Hail to the Chief,” the incumbent President enters the venue.

Musical Performances: Various musical performances, including the national anthem and other patriotic songs, are performed to uplift the atmosphere.

Inauguration of the Vice President: Prior to the President, the incoming Vice President takes the oath of office.

I, [Name], 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.

Vice President’s Anthem: “Hail Columbia”

Oath of Office: The president-elect takes the Oath of Office, administered by the Chief Justice of the United States or another designated official. The president-elect solemnly swears to uphold the duties and responsibilities of the presidency.

I, [Name], 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. So help me God.

President’s Anthem: “Hail to the Chief”

Salute of Guns: Amidst the performance of “Hail to the Chief,” a salute of 21 guns is fired.

Inaugural Address: Following the oath, the newly inaugurated president delivers an inaugural address, which outlines their vision, goals, and intentions for their term in office. This speech often reflects on the state of the nation and emphasizes unity and hope for the future.

Additional Readings or Remarks: Depending on the ceremony, there may be additional readings, recitations, or remarks by individuals representing various groups or causes, highlighting national unity and diversity.

Musical Interludes: Musical performances may be interspersed throughout the ceremony, providing moments of reflection and inspiration.

Benediction: A benediction, or closing prayer, is offered to conclude the ceremony, seeking blessings for the new president and the nation as a whole.

The Lord’s Prayer: Following the pastoral prayer, the Lord’s Prayer is recited.

Our Father, which art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done,
in earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;br/>but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom,
the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever.


National Anthem and Ceremonial Exit: The ceremony concludes with the singing of the national anthem, symbolizing the end of the formal proceedings. The new president and other officials then ceremonially exit the stage.

  • The orchestra performing at the ceremony is typically the United States Marine Band, which is directly affiliated with the President.
  • It is important to note that the contents of the ceremony are subject to change and may vary from one inauguration to another.

The sequence of events following the inauguration ceremony and the parade on Pennsylvania Avenue.

After the inauguration ceremony concludes, the attendees proceed inside the Capitol, where they participate in a luncheon held at the National Statuary Hall.

Following the luncheon, the newly inaugurated President proceeds to sign the documents related to their initial official duties in Congress. Meanwhile, outside the Capitol, the outgoing President and Vice President, who have already left their respective positions, emerge from the central doors of the Capitol and head towards the East Front, where a Marine Corps helicopter is awaiting them. At this point, they are no longer in office, so the call sign for the helicopter is “Executive One” instead of “Marine One”.

Once aboard the helicopter, the former President and Vice President fly to Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, where they are greeted by many supporters.

After the former President and Vice President depart from the Capitol, the newly inaugurated President and Vice President emerge from the central doors to the East Front, where Secret Service-controlled limousines are parked. They board their respective limousines to proceed with the next part of the inauguration events.

The limousines they board are adorned with license plates that either read “USA1” or “800-002,” denoting Washington, D.C. jurisdiction.

from “USA Today”

Within this sequence, John Philip Sousa’s “The National Emblem” a well-known patriotic march, is played, signaling the start of the inaugural parade.

The parade route follows the same path from the White House to the Capitol as previously described. From the intersection of Delaware Avenue and Constitution Avenue, the procession proceeds west on Constitution Avenue and then turns onto Pennsylvania Avenue, where it slowly advances towards the White House.

At several points along the route, the President disembarks from the limousine and walks along Pennsylvania Avenue, waving to the crowds of citizens.

Upon reaching the north side of the Department of Commerce, the President re-boards the limousine and proceeds north on East Executive Avenue, heading towards the north side of the White House.

When the procession reaches Pennsylvania Avenue, facing the north side of the White House, the President once again exits the limousine and walks towards the White House on foot.

Afterward, the President observes the remaining portion of the parade from a special seating area set up on the North Portico of the White House, facing Pennsylvania Avenue.

The flow of the 2021 presidential inauguration ceremony.

Typically, the presidential inauguration follows a similar flow, but in 2021, it was significantly scaled down due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The inauguration ceremony, from the pre-inaugural events to the parade, was closed to the general public, and instead, it was broadcasted online and on television for people to watch remotely. In Japan, NHK aired the inauguration ceremony starting around 1 a.m.

The pre-inaugural events served as a memorial for those who lost their lives to COVID-19. The inauguration ceremony itself on January 20th had a much-reduced scale, with attendance limited to the incoming and outgoing cabinet members, members of Congress from both houses, and one companion per attendee.

Lady Gaga performed the national anthem, and Jennifer Lopez also made an appearance during the ceremony.

The traditional inaugural luncheon was canceled, and the subsequent parade took place in a virtual format. The parade featured a representation of the President traveling between the White House and the Capitol at a normal pace.

It’s important to note that these adaptations were specific to the 2021 inauguration due to the circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, and future inauguration ceremonies may return to a more traditional format.

A presidential inauguration ceremony that captivates from start to finish.

The presidential inauguration ceremony, often overshadowed by the inaugural address, offers not only captivating speeches but also grand fanfares and performances of beloved songs, along with a vibrant parade. It showcases a glamorous side of the event.

Moreover, as the parade takes place along Pennsylvania Avenue and near the Capitol, which are iconic tourist spots in Washington, D.C., watching the inauguration allows viewers to gain a rough sense of the layout and landmarks before embarking on a trip to the city.

For those who have visited these locations before, seeing the actual streets and tourist spots on TV may evoke a sense of familiarity and closeness.

On January 20th, the presidential inauguration takes place, and it is an event that demands undivided attention.