Obama's Inauguration Tick-Tock and NewsHour Viewing Guide
Construction workers erect the Presidential Inaugural Reviewing Stand in front of the White House. Photo by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images.
In a couple of weeks, President Obama will be sworn into office for a second term twice: privately at the White House on Jan. 20, and at a public ceremony at the Capitol the following day.
According to the 20th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, a president's term begins on Jan. 20. Since it falls on a Sunday, President Obama will be one of a handful of presidents making the oath of office twice -- on the designated day to adhere to the law and again on Monday, as per tradition.
Photo of Statue of Liberty, seen here atop the Capitol in July 2010, by Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images
Facts and Figures: The theme of this year's inauguration -- the nation's 57th -- is "Faith in America's Future." This year's celebration also marks the 150th anniversary of the placement of the Statue of Freedom atop the Capitol dome.
The day holds a number of traditional elements: a morning worship service, procession to the Capitol, and an evening inaugural ball. It also contains some individual selections. This year, first generation Cuban-American Richard Blanco will read one of his poems. And singers Beyonce, Kelly Clarkson and James Taylor will perform.
The inaugural parade will begin at the steps of the Capitol building, travel along Pennsylvania Avenue and end at the White House. (View a list of this year's parade participants so far.)
Thousands are expected to stand in chilly weather on Jan. 21 to watch the public inauguration ceremony. To put it in perspective, the coldest inauguration on record was Ronald Reagan's second swearing-in in 1985, when temperatures dipped to 7 degrees Fahrenheit. The ceremony was moved inside to the Capitol Rotunda. (See more past inauguration firsts on the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies' website.)
For those wishing to keep warm inside, the PBS NewsHour will have a special live coverage starting at 11 a.m. ET on Monday, Jan. 21, hosted by senior correspondents Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff. They'll be joined by political analysts Mark Shields and David Brooks, and presidential historians Richard Norton Smith, Beverly Gage and Annette Gordon-Reed.
The website team will report on the people and process of this year's ceremony and the history of inaugurations past. Online features will include:
An interview with Stephen Ayers, the architect of the Capitol who oversaw the inaugural stage construction (see a time-lapse of the construction of the stage);
A report on presidential second terms throughout history;
A presidential history quiz (bone up on the presidential inaugural addresses dating back to 1789);
And reporting assistance from a team of student journalists, who won a NewsHour competition and will travel to Washington, D.C., to help cover the inauguration events. (Read their upcoming reports here.)