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Presidential Inauguration 2013

A Guide to Inauguration Day Events in Washington, DC


© Rachel Cooper

The second Presidential Inauguration of Barack Obama was held in Washington DC on Monday, January 21, 2013. A week of festivities included the Presidential Swearing-in Ceremony, Inaugural Address, Inaugural Parade and numerous inaugural balls and galas honoring the elected President of the United States.

The 20th Amendment states that the President must take the Oath of Office on January 20th. Since the 20th fell on a Sunday, a private swearing-in ceremony was held on that date and the public ceremony and parade were held on the following day. The official theme for the 2013 inauguration was “Faith in America’s Future,” commemorating the United States’ perseverance and unity, marking the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and the placement of the Statue of Freedom atop the Capitol Dome in 1863.

See Photos of the 2013 Inaugural Events. To share your photos, send an email to dc@aboutguide.com. Please include your name and a short description.

Overview of the 2013 Inauguration Schedule

  • Saturday, January 19 - National Day of Service. Americans across the country participated in service projects in their communities to celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. A Service Summit was held on the National Mall from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. See details about the programming. Special events and commemorative activities were also held around the region. See a guide to Martin Luther King Day Events.

    Kids’ Inaugural Concert - 6 p.m. Washington Convention Center. First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden hosted the concert as part of their ongoing commitment to military families. The event was by invitation only. Performers included Black Violin, Far East Movement, Glee! cast members Amber Riley, Darren Criss and Naya Rivera, iLuminate, Katy Perry, Mindless Behavior, The Soul Children of Chicago and Usher.
  • Sunday, January 20 - The President and Vice President each participated in a small private swearing-in ceremony.
  • Monday, January 21 – Inauguration Day. Swearing-in Ceremony, Inaugural Parade, and official Inaugural Balls. (See details below)
  • Tuesday, January 22 - Inaugural National Prayer Service, 10:30 a.m. Washington National Cathedral. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, along with dignitaries and Americans of diverse faiths attended the service which included prayer, readings and musical performances. The event was by invitation only and was webcast live at www.nationalcathedral.org.

Inauguration Swearing-in Ceremony

The oath of office was administered on the steps of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. The program included musical selections by The United States Marine Band, Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, James Taylor, Kelly Clarkson and Beyonce. The Invocation was given by Myrlie Evers-Williams and a poem was read by Richard Blanco. The Oath of Office was administered to Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. by Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, Sonia Sotomayor and the Oath of Office was administered to President Barack H. Obama by the Chief Justice of the United States, John G. Roberts, Jr. Following the oath of office, the President gave his inaugural address, setting out his vision for America and goals for the nation. See details about the program.

Presidential Inauguration Parade

The Inaugural Parade featured eight official inaugural floats, sixty groups - including marching bands, mounted units, cultural organizations, and members from all branches of the Armed Forces of the United States. Since 1789, the U.S. armed forces have participated in this important American tradition honoring our commander in chief. During the 10-day inaugural period from January 15 to January 24, 2013, armed forces personnel provided ceremonial support with musical units, marching bands, color guards, salute batteries and honor cordons. More than 8,800 people and close to 200 animals participated in the parade down Pennsylvania Avenue. Read more about the inaugural parade.

Inauguration Balls

Due to the economic conditions of the country, the inaugural celebration was cut back to include just two official parties plus a concert honoring military families. The Commander-in-Chief ’s Ball was provided free of charge to all invited guests, who included active duty and reserve military, Medal of Honor recipients, and Wounded Warriors and their spouses. The Inaugural Ball brought together members of the public, grassroots volunteers, local community leaders and supporters, various organizations, and local and state elected leaders. Both events were held at the Washington Convention Center to simplify security. Many unofficial inaugural balls and galas were also sponsored by a variety of organizations and held throughout Washington, DC. See a guide to Inaugural Balls and Galas.

Sightseeing in Washington DC

Inauguration Themed Exhibits - A few museums in Washington DC offered special exhibits that highlight the election and the history of presidential inaugurations.

Top 10 Things to Do in the Washington DC Area - Learn about the "must see" attractions of the nation's capital.

Visit the National Monuments and Memorials - Washington, DC's memorials are special tributes and wonderful attractions.

Best Sightseeing Tours - Take a guided tour and learn about the history of the city and its national landmarks. Reserve a tour in advance to be sure to get your desired time.

Explore Washington, DC Neighborhoods - Get off the National Mall, get away from the crowds and experience Washington, DC's eclectic neighborhoods.

Looking for more Washington, DC information? Start with the Washington, DC Home Page, where you'll find current features and an in depth guide to everything you want to know about the DC/Capital region.

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