Inauguration Day 2009
Schedule of Activities and Events
Last updated 2 February 2009

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Inauguration Day Souvenirs
Inauguration Day Souvenirs

The theme for Inauguration Day was "A New Birth of Freedom," in honor of the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth.

Want to watch the highlights of the Inauguration Celebration again? There are a variety of Inauguration DVDs to pick from.


Schedule of Inaugural Events

See the Local Events page for events that took place around the U.S.

Note: All times shown are Eastern Standard.

Go to: 1/17 1/18 1/19 1/20 1/21

January 17 — Whistle Stop Tour by Train

Time Event
10:05 AM President-Elect Obama speaks in Philadelphia before boarding a train to Wilmington, DE, Baltimore, MD, and Washington, DC. Tickets are required and have already been distributed.
1:00 PM Vice President-Elect Biden boards the inaugural train in Wilmington, Delaware. Before the train departs for Baltimore, there will be a free public event at the Wilmington Train Station, (100 South French Street). Doors open at 9:30 AM for this event.
4:15 PM President-Elect Obama and Vice President-Elect Biden speak in Baltimore at the War Memorial Plaza (101 N. Gay Street) before continuing on to Washington, DC. Access to the Plaza will start at 1:00 p.m.
Evening Obama and Biden families arrive at Washington's Union Station by train. No public speaking event has been announced.

January 18

Time Event
8:00 AM Gates open to general public for the We Are One Inaugural Celebration. The Reflecting Pool area, JFK Hockey Fields and Constitution Gardens are open to the public. Space will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.
12:00 Children's Inaugural Ball Noon-5 PM
2:30 PM We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial: A public celebration, free to the public.

The entire show will be broadcast live and for free on HBO and HBO.com. (Even though it is shown on HBO, anyone -- subscriber or not -- will be able to watch. Check your local cable/satellite listings for the channel in your area. The celebration will be rebroadcast at 7PM ET/PT and 11:30 PM ET/PT.

Musical performers scheduled for the event include Beyonce, Mary J. Blige, Bono, Garth Brooks, Sheryl Crow, Renee Fleming, Josh Groban, Herbie Hancock, Heather Headley, John Legend, Jennifer Nettles, John Mellencamp, Usher Raymond IV, Shakira, Bruce Springsteen, James Taylor, will.i.am, and Stevie Wonder. Among those reading historical passages will be Jamie Foxx, Martin Luther King III, Queen Latifah and Denzel Washington. The Rt. Reverend V. Gene Robinson will give the invocation. Rob Mathes will be the music director and arranger for the backing band, which will support all of the artists. Additional performers will be announced as they are confirmed.

7:00 PM The "We Are One" inaugural celebration will be rebroadcast on HBO to all cable and satellite subscriber as an open feed -- you do not need to subscribe to HBO to watch this special event.
Evening Various inaugural balls held around Washington, DC. They generally take place in the evening; times vary -- check each ball's web site for details.
11:30 PM The "We Are One" inaugural celebration will be rebroadcast on HBO to all cable and satellite subscriber as an open feed -- you do not need to subscribe to HBO to watch this special event.

Go to: 1/17 1/18 1/19 1/20 1/21

January 19 — Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Time Event
Day President-elect Obama and Vice President-elect Biden will participate in service activities to commemorate Dr. King.
8:00 PM "We Are The Future Concert" Kids' Inauguration Concert at the Verizon Center in downtown Washington, DC. Though it is free and open to the public, tickets are required. The concert will be show on The Disney Channel from 8:00 - 9:30 p.m. ET/PT and will be simulcast on Radio Disney. Can't watch live? Catch up via Disney.com immediately following the telecast.

Go to: 1/17 1/18 1/19 1/20 1/21

January 20 — Inauguration Day

According to the National Weather Service, a typical Inauguration Day's normal temperature for the noon hour is about 37°F under a partly cloudy sky with a 10 mph wind. They rate the chances of precipitation at 1 in 6 and the chances of snow at 1 in 20. On the plus side, if it does rain or snow, there is a strong likelihood (a 4 to 1 chance) it will only wet the pavement. For up-to-date weather information, see the Capital Weather Gang blog.

Time Event
8:00 AM Gates open for ticketed attendees -- if you have tickets, it will be wise to arrive very early as crowds will be huge and security heavy.
10:00 AM Preliminary festivities begin, including music by The United States Marine Band, The San Francisco Boys Chorus, and the San Francisco Girls Chorus.
11:00 AM Live internet broadcast of the inauguration begins at the Presidential Inaugural Committee web site. See the where to watch page for more information.
11:30 AM If you have tickets to the Inauguration ceremony, you must have passed through security by this time.
  • Call to Order and Welcoming Remarks: Senator Dianne Feinstein
  • Invocation: Dr. Rick Warren
  • Aretha Franklin will sing
  • Vice President-elect Joe Biden will be sworn into office
  • Music composed by John Williams and performed by Itzhak Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma, Gabriela Montero, and Anthony McGill.
12:00 Noon As specified by the U.S. Constitution (20th Amendment), presidential terms of office begin and end at 12:00 noon on January 20. Barack Obama will take the oath of office, which is this simple, 35-word, statement:
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
12:05 PM (approx) President Barack Obama will give his inaugural address, speaking to the nation and world for the first time as President of the United States. Miss the address? Watch it on CNN or read it at the inaugural committee site.

His address was followed by:

  • Poem: Elizabeth Alexander
  • Benediction: The Reverend Dr. Joseph E. Lowery
  • The National Anthem: The United States Navy Band "Sea Chanters"
1:00 PM (approx) Inaugural Luncheon. For details on the menu and invited guests, see the news release.
2:30 PM (approx) Parade down Pennsylvania Avenue from the Capitol to the White House. If you have tickets, you need to be in your seats by 1:00 PM. There is open seating along Pennsylvania Avenue. For information on how to get to the parade route, for people with and without tickets, see the Inaugural Committee's parade information page.
Evening There are many inaugural balls held around Washington, DC. Some will be hosted by President Obama, others are just parties.

Balls Hosted by President Obama
For details, see the press release.

  • Youth Inaugural Ball - Young Americans aged 18-35
  • Obama Home States Inaugural Ball - Illinois and Hawaii invited guests
  • Biden Home States Inaugural Ball - Delaware and Pennsylvania invited guests
  • Eastern Inaugural Ball - CT, ME, MA, NH, RI, VT, PR, and USVI invited guests
  • Mid-Atlantic Inaugural Ball - MD, VA, DC, NY, NJ, and WV invited guests
  • Midwest Inaugural Ball - KS, IN, IA, MI, MN, ND, NE, OH, SD, WI, and MO invited guests
  • Southern Inaugural Ball - AL, AR, FL, GA, KY, LA, MS, NC, SC, TN, and TX invited guests
  • Western Inaugural Ball - AK, CA, ID, MT, OR, WA, WY, AZ, CO, NV, NM, UT, OK, GUAM/AS invited guests
  • Neighborhood Inaugural Ball, hosted by President Obama (New 1/5)
    Washington Convention Center. Low Cost and open to public. 
  • Commander-in-Chief's Ball, hosted by President Obama (New 1/1)
    For men and women in uniform only.

Unofficial Balls

January 21

Time Event
8:30 AM National Prayer Service, led by The Rev. Sharon Watkins, at the National Cathedral. This non-denominational service will include prayers, readings and hymns delivered by religious leaders of a variety of faiths. This is an invitation-only event. Watch live at the Presidential Inaugural Committee site.

Among the religious leaders taking part are:

  • Ingrid Mattson, president of the Islamic Society of North America.
  • The Rev. Suzan Johnson-Cook, senior pastor of the Bronx Christian Fellowship in New York City
  • Rabbi Jerome Epstein, director of the United Synaogue of Conservative Judaism in New York City
  • The Rev. Carol Wade of Washington National Cathedral
  • Uma Mysorekar, president of the Hindu Temple Society of North America in New York City
  • The Rev. Jim Wallis, president of Sojourners in Washington, D.C.
  • Rabbi Haskal Lookstein, Congregation Kehilath Jeshurunm in New York City
  • Kirbyjon Caldwell, senior pastor of Windsor Village United Methodist Church in Houston

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