President Barack Obama stains a bookshelf at Burrville Elementary School in Washington, Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013, as the first family participated in a community service project for the National Day of Service, part of the 57th Presidential Inauguration.

Susan Walsh, Associated Press - Ap

Three days of inaugural celebrations

  • January 19, 2013 - 7:25 PM


President Obama touted "the importance of giving back" as he kicked off three days of inaugural celebrations Saturday with a National Day of Service.

The president, along with First Lady Michelle Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha, joined hundreds of volunteers at Burrville Elementary, where the president helped stain a bookshelf.

Obama said that inaugurations were "a symbol of how our democracy works and how we peacefully transfer power" and that ""we're all in this together."

Later, the first lady and Jill Biden played host to the Kids' Inaugural Concert, which paid special tribute to military spouses and children.


President Obama will be officially sworn in for his second term at 10:55 a.m. central time Sunday in a small ceremony at the White House. Vice President Joe Biden will be officially sworn in at the Naval Observatory earlier in that morning. The 20th Amendment to the Constitution, ratified in 1933, declared that the president's term of office begin on Jan. 20. But because it falls on a Sunday this year, Obama will swear the oath on Sunday but the public ceremony will be on Monday. That means that by the time the events are over, Barack Obama will have sworn the oath of office four times -- more than almost any other president.


The public version of the 57th Presidential Inauguration begins at 10:30, central time, and falls on Martin Luther King Jr. Day -- a first in the history of the federal holiday. The official oaths will take place on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts will administer the oath of office to the president. Justice Sonya Sotomayor will administer the oath to Biden. The theme is "Faith in America's Future," and between 600,000 to 800,000 people are expected to attend.

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., chairman of the six-member Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, is expected to open the events. Tennessee GOP Sen. Lamar Alexander, another member, will speak as well. The invocation will be delivered by Myrlie Evers-Williams, widow of slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers. She'll be the first woman and first nonclergy member to offer the prayer.

Despite scaling back on some of the revelry, the inauguration will be a star-studded affair. Beyoncé, Kelly Clarkson and James Taylor will perform. Latino gay poet Richard Blanco will recite an offering. The parade begins at 1:35, central time. The commander in chief's ball begins at 5 p.m. at the Washington Convention Center, and the Inaugural Ball begins at 5:30.

Tuesday: The Obamas and Bidens will participate in a National Prayer Service at the Washington National Cathedral.


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