Despite all the outrage, fear and hysteria in Hollywood, Inauguration Day somehow managed to arrive in America anyway. A number of Israeli officials — including for the first time ever, members of Israel’s Knesset and representatives from Judea and Samaria — are among the guests invited by President-elect Donald J. Trump.
The lead-up events to the ceremony began on time Thursday afternoon with the traditional wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Ceremony to honor America’s fallen soldiers.
At 4 pm, President-elect Donald Trump kicked off the inaugural festivities with a brief address before a televised concert outside the Lincoln Memorial that was free to the public in Washington DC. Performers at the event were country vocalist Toby Keith, the group ‘3 Doors Down’ and others.
At 7:30 pm the families of the president-elect and vice-president-elect made a special appearance at a candlelight dinner held at Union Station to thank donors at the Inauguration.
The evening wound down with the first and second families-elect preparing for their Big Day ahead.
On Friday (Jan. 20) Inauguration Day itself is to begin at 8:30 am with prayers at St. John’s Episcopal Church, near Blair House in Washington DC, where the families will reflect in prayer on the task that awaits them.
Tradition holds that the two incoming and outgoing presidents meet together at the White House with their wives for coffee at 9:30 am prior to the Inauguration Ceremony.
Custom dictates that the two presidents then ride together down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol, where the swearing-in ceremony is to take place.
Six different clerics representing separate faiths will be on hand to offer blessings at the ceremony, which begins at 11:30 am. Officials and dignitaries will gather on the West Front of the Capitol as U.S. Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri, chairman of the Congressional Inaugural Committee, delivers remarks. Jackie Evancho will sing the Star-Spangled Banner, and The Mormon Tabernacle Choir and The Rockettes will perform.
At approximately 12 noon, Chief Justice John G. Roberts will administer the oath of office as Donald J. Trump places his hand on his childhood Bible, and that of President Abraham Lincoln. After the oath of office, President Trump will deliver his Inaugural Address.
Following the speech by President Trump, his predecessor, former President Obama, will depart with his family from the East Front of the Capitol.
A luncheon will be held for dignitaries, government leaders and friends in the Capitol Rotunda, to be followed by the president’s review of the American armed forces from the East Front.
President Trump and Vice President [Mike] Pence will then lead the Inaugural Parade from the Capitol, down Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House. They will be followed by thousands of members of each branch of the military and upon their arrival, will watch the rest of the parade from a reviewing stand at the White House.
From 7 pm onward, President and First Lady Trump will be on their feet dancing. Two official balls will be held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, on separate floors, and a third one – the Armed Services Ball – will be held at the National Building Museum. The President and First Lady are expected to appear, and grace the dance floor at all three.
Inauguration Day does not end when the clock strikes midnight.
On Saturday morning at 10 am, the National Prayer Service is to be held at the Washington National Cathedral, where President Trump and Vice President Pence are to officially begin their terms in prayer. It is only with the start of the weekend and the end of the festivities in prayer and reflection that the Inaugural Day can truly be called to a close.
Protesters can then officially begin their own schedules; literally hundreds of thousands of demonstrators are expected to descend upon Washington DC for that purpose this weekend.Hana Levi Julian