- (Photo: AP Images / Jae C. Hong)
Despite reports that not nearly as many Americans are thrilled about President Barack Obama's inauguration the second time around, there is nonetheless excitement about where and how to get tickets and what the public can expect from his second swearing-in ceremony on Jan. 21.
Obama's 2009 inauguration drew almost 2 million people to the National Mall in Washington, D.C., but in a few weeks only about 600,000-800,000 attendees are expected to watch the president's public swearing-in ceremony in person.
With only two weeks left before President Obama takes to the steps of the Capitol to take the oath of office, many looking to attend the 57th inauguration in person seem most eager about getting their hands on tickets.
Tickets to the public swearing-in ceremonies are free and handed out by members of the 113th Congress, with the offices of Senators and Representatives fielding requests for tickets. Information can also be found on congressional members' official websites.
Attendees who want to simply view the event on large television screens at the National Mall do not need tickets, although the Inaugural Balls and the Inaugural Parade need tickets for entry, the latter for bleacher seating.
As for what events are scheduled for the inaugural weekend, President Obama has designated Saturday, Jan. 19 as a National Day of Service. Americans are encouraged to join the president and vice president and their families in participating in service projects to mark the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., whose national holiday falls on the 21st of Jan.
On Sunday, Jan. 20, Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will have their private swearing-in ceremonies, followed on Monday, Inauguration Day, by the public ceremony at 11:30 a.m., the Inaugural Parade at 2:30 p.m. and official Inaugural Balls in the evening.
On Tuesday, Jan. 22, the president, vice president, public officials and others of various faiths will attend the Inaugural National Prayer Service at 10:30 a.m. at the Washington National Cathedral. No tickets are extended to the public for this event, but it will be streamed over the Internet at the cathedral's website.
While Obama certainly made history in 2008 by becoming the nation's first elected African-American president, he also made several notable firsts with his 2009 ceremony.
According to the official Presidential Inauguration website, the 56th inaugural ceremonies:
- Attracted the largest attendance of any event in Washington, D.C.'s history
- Drew the largest audience to any presidential inauguration in U.S. history
- Had the largest online audience ever view the swearing-in ceremonies on the Web
- Were emceed for the first time by a woman, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.)
- Involved an audio description of the swearing-in ceremony for the first time
Obama is not only the nation's 44th president, but also its first commander-in-chief born in Hawaii. The president's 2013 inaugural theme is "Faith in America's Future," said to commemorate the country's perseverance and mark the 150th year anniversary of the Statue of Freedom being placed atop the U.S. Capitol dome.
The first-ever inaugural ceremonies, for President George Washington, were held April 30, 1789.