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01.14.21 | Community

Watching the 59th Presidential Inauguration Virtually

Though 2020 may be behind us, many of the changes we became accustomed to in the past year are here to stay (at least for a little while longer). The COVID-19 pandemic still rages, and we’re still encouraged to practice safety protocols such as wearing a mask, social distancing and staying home whenever possible.

That also means that large gatherings, like the upcoming Presidential Inauguration Ceremony, are looking a little different this time around. And in light of events at Capitol Hill last week, it’s now more important than ever to honor institutions of democracy and uphold our civic powers. That’s why today, we’re taking a closer look at how you can watch the Presidential Inauguration virtually.

The 59th Presidential Inauguration

President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris will be sworn in at the 59th Presidential Inauguration on January 20th. The inaugural ceremony is a tradition with an over 200-year-old history, but this year, a limited number of tickets were made available to congressional offices and Americans are being dissuaded from traveling to the nation’s capital to witness the event in person. Instead, the celebrations are going virtual. “This isn’t about politics,” said Biden. “This is about saving lives.” (You can read more about the in-process plans for the inauguration here.)

However the capitol decides to revise its typical celebrations, the majority of us will be watching the 59th presidential inauguration virtually from the comfort (and safety) of our couches at home. But how do we continue to keep this virtual viewing as celebratory as ever? 

Watching Along

The televised inauguration will kick off at noon EST on January 20th, with pre-event festivities beginning as early as 9:30 AM EST. The event will be televised on all major cable networks, news channel websites as well as aired live on the White House streaming website. (You can find an even more detailed list of places to watch the live streamed event here.) 

Following the official swearing-in, the traditional parade down Pennsylvania Avenue and through Washington D.C. has been transformed in a “virtual, nationwide parade.” Parade organizers promise that by going virtual, the parade will be more inclusive than ever, serving to “celebrate America’s heroes, highlight Americans from all walks of life in different states and regions and reflect on the diversity, heritage, and resilience of the country as we begin a new American era.” According to the parade’s organizing committee, it will feature “diverse, dynamic” performances in communities across the country.

To “watch along” with family, friends and community members virtually, we recommend taking advantage of video-chatting services such as Facebook video chat or Zoom. 

While much about our present circumstances remain the same, this is one concrete change we recommend celebrating safely and joyously. 

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