What you need to know about the inauguration

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will be inaugurated on Wednesday in Washington
Here's what to know to watch the inauguration on Wednesday
Posted at 10:22 AM, Jan 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-19 12:02:56-05

WASHINGTON, D.C. — President-elect Joe Biden will be sworn in as the 46th president of the United States on Wednesday in a tradition-packed ceremony that will be unlike any other inauguration in the history of the republic.

It will be like previous inaugurations with pomp and circumstance, former presidents, congressional leaders, celebrities, parades and tributes to our troops.

But it will be staged before a socially distanced audience in a city that is locked down because of threats of potential domestic terrorism after the attack on the U.S. Capitol and the pandemic.

Attendance for Wednesday's ceremony assured will be the smallest in recent inauguration history. Most of America will be watching on their home televisions, smart devices or computers rather than from the National Mall in Washington.

But it will have an A-list load of celebrities that will include Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, rock icon Bruce Springsteen and country superstar Garth Brooks.

What is the Inauguration Day schedule?

10 a.m. – Joe Biden arrives at the U.S. Capitol.

10:15 a.m. – The inauguration program begins.

Invocation – Father Leo J. O’Donovan.

Pledge of Allegiance – Andrea Hall.

National Anthem – Lady Gaga.

Poetry Reading – Amanda Gorman.

Musical Performance – Jennifer Lopez.

Benediction - Rev. Dr. Silvester Beaman.

11 a.m. – Biden is sworn in as 46th president.

1:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. – Biden will lay a wreath at Arlington National Cemetery’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff, President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, President George W. Bush and Laura Bush and President Bill Clinton and Secretary Hillary Clinton.

2:15 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. – Joe and Jill Biden receive presidential military escort to the White House.

TBD – The virtual “Parade Across America” begins once the Bidens enter the White House and will feature communities around the country.

7:30 p.m. – Actor Tom Hanks will host a 90-minute special featuring remarks by Biden and Harris and performances by Demi Lovato, Justin Timberlake, Ant Clemons, Jon Bon Jovi and others.

Who won't be in attendance:

Jimmy Carter, the country's oldest living president at 96 and former first lady Rosalynn Carter will not be attending the ceremonies, although they sent their best wishes.

And also absent will be President Donald Trump, as he becomes the first president to skip his successor's inauguration since Andrew Johnson in 1869. Vice President Mike Pence will be attending.

Who will swear in Biden?

As is tradition, U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Roberts will administer the oath of office to Biden just as the clock strikes 12 p.m. (EST). Biden plans to take his oath of office on top of a family Bible that will be held by his wife, Jill Biden.

Who will swear in Harris?

Harris, who will become the first woman, the first Black American and the first South Asian-American vice president, will be sworn into office by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina member of the Supreme Court.

It won't be the first time Sotomayor has sworn in a vice president. She also administered the oath of office to Biden in 2013.