Actually, you must have a ticket to attend the inauguration... and the only people with tickets to distribute are your congressmen (your US Representative and two US Senators). The tickets are FREE!!!
Tickets are generally first come, first serve, AND depending on your district, your representative may've already received THOUSANDS of requests by now... but it can't hurt to put in a request.
Click here to get the e-mail address of your US Representative.
Click here to get the e-mail addresses of your US Senators.
I've already written my Congressman (Hank Johnson) and my Senators (Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson).
Inauguration Day is the day on which the President of the United States is sworn in and takes office. It was originally held every four years on March 4 except the first inauguration for George Washington, which was held on April 30, 1789. The ratification of the Twentieth Amendment to the United States Constitution changed the beginning of the President and Vice President's terms to noon on January 20th, beginning with Franklin Roosevelt's second term in 1937.
Since 1901, all inaugural ceremonies at the U.S. Capitol have been organized by the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies. The U.S. Armed Forces have participated in inaugural day ceremonies since George Washington, because the president is commander-in-chief of the armed forces. Since the first inauguration of Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1953, that participation has been coordinated by the Armed Forces Inaugural Committee (now called the Joint Task Force-Armed Forces Inaugural Committee).
The oath of office is traditionally administered on the steps of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. The Vice President takes the oath of office at the same ceremony as the President. This tradition began in 1937. Before then, the vice presidential oath was administered in the Senate. The vice president takes the oath first:
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.
This is followed by four ruffles and flourishes and Hail Columbia.
At exactly noon, the President takes the oath of office, traditionally administered by the Chief Justice of the United States, using the form mandated in Article II, Section 1 of the United States Constitution:
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."
According to tradition, in the first inaugural, President Washington added the words, "So help me God" when reciting the oath, although there is no contemporary evidence of this. The words have been repeated by some Presidents thereafter, including all since Franklin D Roosevelt. Theodore Roosevelt, for example, chose to conclude his oath with the phrase "And thus I swear." Only President Herbert Hoover, a Quaker whose faith prohibited such oaths, in 1929 chose to affirm rather than swear.
Immediately following the oath, the bands play four ruffles and flourishes and Hail to the Chief, followed by a 21-gun salute from howitzers of the Military District of Washington. The President delivers an inaugural address, setting the tone for the new administration. Should January 20 be a Sunday, the President is usually administered the oath of office in a private ceremony on that day, followed by a public ceremony the following day.
Since Thomas Jefferson's second inaugural on March 4, 1805, it has become tradition for the president to parade down Pennsylvania Avenue from the Capitol to the White House. The only president not to parade down Pennsylvania Avenue was Ronald Reagan. He paraded down Pennsylvania Ave. during his first inauguration, in 1981, amidst the celebrations that broke out across the country because of news just minutes into his term that the 52 American hostages held in Iran for the previous 444 days had been released. Reagan did not do so in 1985 due to freezing cold temperatures made dangerous by high winds.
In 1977, Jimmy Carter started a new tradition by walking from the Capitol to the White House, although for security reasons, subsequent presidents have only walked a part of the way.