Inguration Materials

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I am just quickly putting some things together for my children and I to watch and learn about the inauguration together since we are all home.

This year I plan to add to the traditional conversations around the inauguration -the loss of a public ceremony. How important it would have been for Black girls to see a woman of color be sworn in. Esp. for her HBCU peers and sorors. To me it seems like a big loss.

The only parts of the inauguration that are written into the United States Constitution are the date and the words of the oath that the president must say to become president.

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Inauguration Day begins with a worship service attended by the president-elect. The president-elect then goes to the White House to meet with the outgoing president. After that, both the president and the president-elect, along with the vice president and vice president-elect, proceed to the United States Capitol for the swearing-in ceremonies. After they are each sworn into office, the new president gives a speech that is known as the Inaugural Address. This speech usually addresses the president’s goals for the country.

After the swearing-in ceremonies, the new president, vice president, and others attend an Inaugural Luncheon in the Capitol. The meal is followed by the Inaugural Parade. The parade is led by the president and vice president as they are driven to the White House. They lead a procession of ceremonial military groups, marching bands, and floats. Sometimes the president will walk at least part of the way along the route. Once the president and vice president arrive at the White House, they watch the rest of the parade.

The day ends with a number of Inaugural Balls, or parties to celebrate the new president. There are often many balls held throughout Washington, D.C., on the night of the inauguration.

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The Presidential Oath of Office by Geri Zabela Eddins 

“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.” – The Constitution of the United States. Article II, Section 1.

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The Oath of Office Signals the Transfer of Power Most inauguration days continue to be festive events celebrated by traditional ceremonies, parades, and balls, but it is the oath of office that reigns as the highlight. The oath is in fact the only part of our elaborate inaugural ceremonies and celebrations that is required by the Constitution. Article II, Section 1 provides the short—but imperative—oath that every president beginning with George Washington has sworn to: “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.” Every single president has stated these same words to swear his duty to the country and the Constitution, whether he was elected or required to assume the presidency following a president’s death or resignation. The exact moment when a president-elect concludes the oath signals that he or she is now officially president and commander in chief. Regarding the remarkable significance of this uniquely peaceful transfer of power from one president to the next, historian Jim Bendat writes in Democracy’s Big Day, “Our Inauguration Day is one that demonstrates the continuity of our country and the renewal of the democratic process, as well as the healing that is sometimes needed after an election battle.”

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ACTIVITES 

In His or Her Words: Listening to the Inaugural Speech Almost every president has made a speech to the nation following the inauguration ceremony. Some presidents’ speeches have inspired generations. Franklin Roosevelt assured us that “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” John F. Kennedy proclaimed, “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.” If young people cannot watch this year’s inaugural ceremony and speech live, try to record it or watch it on YouTube. Tell young people that as they listen to the president’s speech, they should take note of any promises and plans he or she makes. Have them write these things down. They should think about what the president said and consider what plans seem reasonable. Have them discuss what plans they think the president can accomplish. Which plans or promises do they think are too “pie in the sky?” Have kids focus on an idea or issue expressed in the speech that reflects their own interest—maybe it’s something they believe is very important to their family and interests, or maybe it’s something they believe should not be a priority right now. Encourage them to write a letter to the new president and vice president expressing their feelings. Encourage kids to read the editorial pages in the next few days after the inauguration. Have them compare their thoughts on the inaugural speech with the editorialists’ opinions. Who agrees with them and who does not? Did any editorial or column cause them to reconsider their thoughts? Also encourage kids to write a letter to the editor expressing their thoughts. They should include their age with their signatures because if their letter is well written and their opinions are expressed cogently, their age may be a positive factor in getting published either in traditional print or on the newspaper’s website

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