One of the most unchanging events during the presidential inauguration is the swearing in. In fact, it has remained largely the same throughout the 200 year time span that America has had a president. While the presidential inauguration celebration often takes place over a 10-day period of celebration, the most important moment is the oath of office taken by the new president and vice president.
The swearing in process usually begins around 11:30 a.m., and the president-elect is sworn in by noon on January 20th, based on U.S. Constitution amendment XX. In 2013, the Swearing In Ceremony will include the traditional oath, as well as musical entertainment by Beyonce, Kelly Clarkson and James Taylor. In addition, the inaugural poet is Richard Blanco who will recite a poem at the Swearing In Ceremony.
Since 1901, all inaugural ceremonies have been held at the U.S Capitol and organized by the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies. The U.S. Armed Forces also have a heavy influence on the program, as the president is their commander-in-chief.
Since 1937, the vice president is sworn in at the same ceremony as the president. On January 20, 2013, Vice President Joe Biden will take the following oath:
"I do solemnly swear [or affirm] that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same: that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion, and I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God."
The oath is followed by the ceremonial music of four ruffles and flourishes played on the drums and bugles, as well as "Hail Columbia." At exactly noon Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. will lead President Barack Obama in this oath:
"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."
Directly after the oath, the bands once again perform four ruffles and flourishes and "Hail to the Chief," plus a 21-gun salute from howitzers of the Military District of Washington.
The next order of business is the inaugural address. George Washington started off the very first inauguration with an address to the Senate chamber where he addressed Congress and dignitaries. While most presidents have kept their speeches relatively short over the years, William Henry Harrison delivered the longest speech in presidential history - 8,445 words - on a cold, wet day. One month later, he died of pneumonia, suspected to have been caused by his exposure on the day.
In 1921, Warren G. Harding was the first president to give his address over loudspeakers for the masses to hear. In 1925, Calvin Coolidge's address was broadcast on the radio and in 1949 Harry Truman was filmed for television. In 1997, Bill Clinton's second inauguration was the first to be streamed live online.
After noon on January 20, the change of power in American is final. Following the somber completion of the inaugural address, the real celebration will begin!