On January 20th, the United States of America will swear in the 45th president. VIU’s northern Virginia location, only 30 minutes outside of Washington DC, provides students the opportunity to witness the event first hand. The official Oaths of Office for the President and Vice-President will take place around noon on Jan. 20th at the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol. While tickets are needed to attend the ceremony, students can view the proceedings via giant video screens with audio along the National Mall. Spectators can also watch the inaugural parade on Pennsylvania Ave along the sidewalks, which are standing room only; the parade starts around 3 pm.
The best way for students to get to the National Mall or Pennsylvania Avenue is via the Metro. Students can pick up the Metro at the Vienna/GMU Station on the Orange Line and travel to the Smithsonian or Federal Triangle Metro stops without having to transfer trains. The popular ride-sharing apps, Uber and Lyft, will be operating; but due to street closings, students will be picked up and dropped off beyond the closures, forcing students to walk long distances.
Here are some tips to make your trip memorable:
- Bring a friend. Events are always more enjoyable (and safer) with a friend.
- Be prepared for travel delays– even on the metro. There will be thousands of people in attendance, there will be train delays.
- Food vendors are available, but students can bring their own snacks and water. Save money and bring a picnic!
- Get there early. The Oath of Office will be around 12 pm, but opening remarks start at 11:30 am. The National Mall will not have seating available, think about bringing a blanket or chair.
- Dress warm and appropriately. The projected weather forecast is 90% chance of rain in the early afternoon around 3 pm with a high of 49 degrees Fahrenheit.
The Inauguration of the President of the United States has been observed on January 20th for the last 80 years (unless the 20th falls on a Sunday) with the adoption of the Twentieth Amendment to the US Constitution. Prior to this amendment, the inauguration was held on March 4th, which is the day the federal government began in 1789 with the adoption of the US Constitution. The US Constitution mandates the Oath of Office for the President and Vice President stating:
“I, <full name>, 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. So help me God.”