President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20 will be a public show of bipartisan unity, attended by the three administrations before President Donald Trump.
“This inauguration marks a new chapter for the American people — one of healing, of unifying, of coming together, of an ‘America united,’” Presidential Inaugural Committee’s chief executive officer Tony Allen said of the eponymous inaugural theme.
The ceremony will be attended by former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, as well as former First Ladies Michelle Obama, Laura Bush, and Hillary Clinton. While Vice President Mike Pence is expected to attend, President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania will leave the day before for their Florida home. 96-year-old former President Jimmy Carter and his wife are unable to travel due to health concerns and will not be in attendance.
Immediately after being sworn in, Biden, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, and their respective spouses will lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington Cemetery, “honoring our men and women in uniform who paid the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our common values,” as one of their first acts in office.
Biden’s transition team has urged the public not to gather for the inauguration, ensuring a more muted affair in the context of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Instead, the administration will install an “extensive public art display” on the National Mall. The display will include thousands of U.S. flags, flags for every state and territory, and 56 pillars of light in similar representation.
“It is time to turn the page on this era of division,” Allen said. “The inaugural activities will reflect our shared values and serve as a reminder that we are stronger together than we are apart, just as our motto ‘e pluribus unum’ reminds us — out of many, one.”