Jan 21, 2009


The inauguration usually takes place at noon on the steps of the west front of the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C. Chief Justice John Roberts Jr., an appointee of outgoing President Bush, will oversee the changing of the guard by administering the oath, which traditionally is done on a Bible. Also present will be members of the U.S. armed forces, since the president is also commander-in-chief.

Joe Biden, the vice president-elect, will take his oath first, in the same ceremony. A band will play "Hail to the Chief," the infantry guard will give a 21-gun salute, and then Obama will make his inaugural address — his first speech to the country as president.

The United States Congress then will invite Obama and Biden to lunch, after which Obama will parade down from the Capitol to the White House.

And after all this pomp and circumstance, it's party time. Inaugural celebrations can last up to five days after the initial ceremony, but the most anticipated one is the Inaugural Ball — tickets, which are available on various ticket Web sites at exorbitant prices, are going fast. The official inauguration Web site unhelpfully says: "Tickets for the Inaugural swearing-in ceremony will be distributed to constituents in January 2009 by both Senators and Representatives of Congress of the 111th Congress."

It seems likely that the events surrounding the inauguration will be the kind of star-studded affair that Obama's victory celebration Tuesday night was not. The day before the election, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that the Obama campaign had asked some of its famous supporters to stay away from Tuesday's rally. Although the campaign is reportedly grateful for the high-profile support, several prominent celebs had reportedly been asked "politely but very firmly" to skip the rally — and focus on attending the Obama inauguration.