Inaugural ceremonies mark the peaceful transfer of power.  Inaugurals are a time of hope, of reflection on where our country stands, and of celebration.  Shortly before noon on January 21, 2013 President Barack Obama swore the oath of office in the public ceremony at the Capitol, after a private swearing in the day before.  He sought to inspire the nation with a carefully crafted speech and started his second four-year term as President of the United States.

The 57th Inaugural: "Our People, Our Future"
The 2013 inaugural was a lower key affair than in 2009, but still entailed a full range of activities.  Events began on Saturday January 19 with a National Day of Service.  On Sunday January 20, President Obama was officially sworn in as required by the 20th Amendment to the Constitution; this occured in an private ceremony at the White House.  On Monday January 21 the public swearing in ceremony took place on the west steps of the Capitol, followed by the Inaugural Parade and Inaugural Balls.  On Tuesday January 22 there was a National Prayer Service at the Washington National Cathedral.

57th Inaugural

Saturday, January 19

National Day of Service

Kids Inaugural Concert
Washington Convention Center

Sunday, January 20
President Obama formally sworn in
The White House

Monday, January 21
Morning Worship Service

Swearing in Ceremony

West Steps of the U.S. Capitol

Inaugural Luncheon
Statuary Hall

Inaugural Parade
Pennsylvania Avenue

The Commander in Chief's Inaugural Ball
The Inaugural Ball
Washington Convention Center

Tuesday, January 22
National Prayer Service
Washington National Cathedral

Organizing the Inaugural Activities

Every four years three committees form to organize the inaugural activities. 

The Joint Task Force-National Capital Region 2012 (JTR-NCR), a joint task force of the five Armed Forces branches, is "charged with coordinating all military ceremonial participation and support" for the presidential inauguration.  Maj. Gen. Michael S. Linnington, is commander of JTF-NCR, which is authorized to have nearly 450 service members by Inaugural Day; including the parade and ceremonial support up to 5,000 service member will participate.  JTF-NCR was formerly known as the Armed Forces Inaugural Committee (AFIC).  For the 2009 Inaugural the first personnel started with AFIC at the end of 2007 and the organization launched in June 2008.  By Inauguration Day the number of personnel rose to about 700 including full-time (PCS/permanent change of station) and personnel on temporary duty.

The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies (JCCIC) is responsible for all events held at the Capitol.  The JCCIC is a committee, established by a congressional resolution, consisting of six leaders of the House and Senate.  For the 2013 inaugural, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) is chairing the JCCIC (+).  The JCCIC has budget of $1,237,000 from the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2012 (P.L. 112-74, signed into law on Dec. 23, 2011).  Its inaugural theme is "Faith in America's Future" (+).  Additionally $4.2 million has been allocated to the Architect of the Capitol for construction of the platform and other work on the grounds and about $2 million allocated for the U.S. Capitol Police.

The final piece is the Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC), charged with organizing events for the Inaugural.  A PIC is formed every four years after the general election and must accomplish most of its work in a period of just two months.  Stephen Kerrigan, who served as CEO of the 2012 Democratic National Convention Committee, is serving as CEO of the PIC, and David J. Cusack, who served as a senior advisor to Kerrigan at the DNCC, is executive director.  Unlike for Obama's first inauguration, the 2013 PIC accepted corporate contributions; this drew some criticism (+).  The PIC also sells a range of merchandise. (>)

The 2013 PIC adopted "Our People, Our Future" as the inaugural theme; themes set by past PICs include "Renewing America's Promise" (2008), "Celebrating Freedom-Honoring Service" (2004), and "Celebrating America's Spirit Together" (2000). 

In addition to the publicized events, the PIC also organized a reception for donors and supporters at the National Building Museum on Jan. 20 (+) and a staff ball at the DC Convention Center on Jan. 22 (+).

The 2009 PIC ultimately employed over 430 people to work on the 56th Inaugural.  As with the Obama campaign, the PIC announced limitations on fundraising; it did not accept contributions from "corporations, political action committees, current federally-registered lobbyists, non-U.S. citizens and registered foreign agents...[and] will not accept individual contributions in excess of $50,000."  The 2009 PIC reported net donations totaling $53.2 million.

In addition to the PIC, JCCIC and JTF-NCR, numerous agencies coordinated on security for the events of inaugural week.  Because the Department of Homeland Security designates the presidential inaugurals as a National Special Security Events (NSSEs), the Secret Service is the lead agency. (PDF)  The Department of Homeland Security reported on Jan. 16 that, "The U.S. Secret Service has established a Presidential Inaugural Multi-Agency Communications Center, which will host representatives from 42 agencies, including law enforcement, utility companies, transit authorities, and the military."  Lessons learned from the 2009 inaugural were incorporated into planning for the 57th Inaugural (PDF, +). 

Complementing the official activities many groups organized inaugural balls and events (1, 2, 3).  The hundreds of thousands of people who traveled to Washington, DC for the ceremonies challenged transportation and communication services (1, 2) but also boosted area hotels and businesses (+).  Finally, news organizations devoted significant resources to bringing coverage to their audiences (+).

Estimates are that more than 800,000 and possibly as many as one million people attended the 2013 ceremonies; by comparison the commonly cited number for 2009 is 1.8 million.