Sunday, January 18, 2009

Let the Celebration Begin

In 1965, as an ROTC cadet and member of the Pershing Rifles fraternity, I marched in the Inauguration Parade of President Lyndon B. Johnson. It was an exciting experience for an eighteen year old. Although I had visited the District of Columbia before, there was something about the crowds and parties and celebration activities that really moved me—even as I felt the memory of the assassinated President John F. Kennedy saddening the festivities.

1965 was the last Presidential Inauguration I took a really meaningful interest in—until 2009 and the inauguration of President Barak Obama on next Tuesday. 

I really wish I could be there!




_ Obama will kick off inaugural activities with a welcome event on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on Sunday afternoon. The event begins at 2:30 p.m. Beyonce, U2, Bruce Springsteen, John Mellencamp, Usher, Shakira, Sheryl Crow, Josh Groban and James Taylor are among the musicians scheduled to perform.

_ Presidential Inaugural Luncheon and Fashion Show at the Ritz-Carlton.

_ EMILY's List Inaugural Luncheon with scheduled guests including Cabinet appointees Hillary Rodham Clinton and Janet Napolitano, Sens. Kay Hagan and Jeanne Shaheen, and North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue.

_ African-American Church Inaugural Ball at the Grand Hyatt Washington.

_ 2009 Latino Inaugural Gala with Marc Anthony at Union Station.

_ Aloha Inaugural Ball, organized by former Obama campaign workers, held at the Wardman Park Marriott Hotel at 7:30 p.m.


_ National Day of Community Service event: To honor Dr. King's legacy, Obama, Biden and their families, joined by Americans across the country, will participate in activities dedicated to serving others in communities across the Washington, D.C. area.

_ Black Tie & Boots Inaugural Ball, sponsored by the Texas State Society, at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center.

_ Green Inaugural Ball at the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture. Ball hosted by former Vice President Al Gore.

_ Huffington Post preinaugural ball at the Newseum.

_ Hip-Hop Inaugural Ball at the Harman Center for the Arts. Hosted by the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network, Russell Simmons, LL Cool J, among others.

_ A children's evening concert at the Verizon Center honoring military families. Event hosted by Michelle Obama, who will attend. Miley Cyrus, the Jonas Brothers are among the entertainers.

_ Obama to attend three private dinners to honor former secretary of State Colin Powell, Biden and Sen. John McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, for their public service. Dinners at the Hilton Washington, National Building Museum and Union Station.


Gates to the Inaugural Ceremony open at 8 a.m. The inaugural festivities are scheduled to start at 10 a.m. on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol. They will include:

_ Musical selections of The United States Marine Band, followed by the San Francisco Boys Chorus and the San Francisco Girls Chorus.

_ Sen. Dianne Feinstein provides call to order and welcoming remarks.

_ Invocation by the Rev. Rick Warren.

_ Musical selection of Aretha Franklin.

_ Biden will be sworn into office by Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens.

_ Musical selection of John Williams, composer/arranger with Itzhak Perlman, (violin), Yo-Yo Ma (cello), Gabriela Montero (piano) and Anthony McGill (clarinet).

_ Obama will take the Oath of Office, using President Lincoln's Inaugural Bible, administered by Chief Justice John Roberts. Scheduled around noon.

_ Obama gives the inaugural address.

_ Poem by Elizabeth Alexander.

_ Benediction by Rev. Joseph E. Lowery.

_ The National Anthem by The United States Navy Band "Sea Chanters."

After Obama gives inaugural address, he will escort outgoing President George W. Bush to a departure ceremony before attending a luncheon in the Capitol's Statuary Hall.

The 56th Inaugural Parade will then make its way down Pennsylvania Avenue from the Capitol to the White House.

Later that day, the Presidential Inaugural Committee will host 10 official inaugural balls:

_ Neighborhood Inaugural Ball at the Washington Convention Center.

_ Obama Home States (Illinois and Hawaii) Inaugural Ball at the Washington Convention Center.

_ Biden Home States (Pennsylvania and Delaware) Inaugural Ball at the Washington Convention Center.

_ Midwest Inaugural Ball at the Washington Convention Center.

_ Mid-Atlantic Inaugural Ball at the Washington Convention Center.

_ Western Inaugural Ball at the Washington Convention Center.

_ Commander in Chief's Ball at the National Building Museum.

_ Southern Inaugural Ball at the National Guard Armory.

_ Eastern Inaugural Ball at Union Station.

_ Youth Inaugural Ball at the Washington Hilton.

Unofficial balls include:

_ Congressional Black Caucus Inaugural Ball at the Capitol Hilton.

_ Creative Coalition Inaugural Ball at the Harman Center for the Arts.

_ Recording Industry Association of America's ball for Feeding America.

_ BET's Inaugural Ball at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel.

_ Africa on the Potomac inaugural celebration at Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, Va.

_ Inaugural Purple Ball at the Fairmont Hotel.

_ Human Rights Campaign's Equality Ball at the Renaissance Mayflower Hotel.

_ Inaugural Peace Ball at the Smithsonian National Postal Museum.

_ Impact Film Fund ball.


_ The president, vice president and their families will participate in a prayer service at the Washington National Cathedral.

Good-bye, Mr. Bush 


  1. Nick GREAT POST!!! I realy enjoyed the video. I have neve been to Washington for any reason.But man I would love to see our 44th president inaugration in person..

  2. I think President-elect Obama is going to be the most popular incumbent since JFK. I know, here in Australia, the majority of people I've spoken to expect good things from him. The poor guy has a lot to live up to. But I think he's more than equal to the task.

    I feel quite special 'cos the Inauguration's on my birthday!

  3. I am really excited about the inauguration too. Also the idea of being so alive in this historically momentous day makes me really excited. I wont be in DC or even close to it, but I plan to enjoy the excitement in the air. Hope you do too.

  4. This is so exciting! I shall be celebrating, too.

  5. I can't wait to see what he does.
    Hope your leg is soon better.

  6. Big day, not just for America either. What a shame you can't be there Nick but you can still celebrate. :)

  7. Exciting stuff!

    I wish that you could be there, too, Nick. I know that you will be there in spirit.

    Oh, I am SO not going to miss hearing W try to speak...

  8. Hope your leg heals soon ; )

    Wow, it almost makes you want to cry knowing there will be no more "R U with me or agin me ; (".....

    and for a change, some positive talk, rather than negative.

    'bout time, eh? !

    Cheers and Thanks for the toon a week or so ago ; )

  9. Great post! How exciting that you got to be at LBJ's inauguration.

  10. I am delighted to be here to enjoy this time. I honestly don't know which is better, seeing Obama in or seeing Bush out.

    I remember the 1960s, and since we are about the same age, I suspect you do, also, when blacks were struggling to be able to eat with us in restaurants. I'm so thrilled to be here to see Mr. Obama take us all into a new era.

    I plan to be at the TV all day Tuesday, and my guess is that it will be an emotional day. Tissues will be handy.

    As usual, a very good post, Nick. :)

  11. I am excited for Obama and can't wait for this day in history to take place.

    I don't think we can blame it all on W because he had a lot of help. I am hopeful and waiting with excitement for the new president.

    Keep him in prayers as he will surely need it. May god bless him and his family and keep them safe and protect them from harm.