January 18, 2005—It's inaugural week in Washington, D.C. For the 55th time in history, the newly elected President will take his oath of office. President George W. Bush will be sworn in for his second term by Supreme Court Justice William Renquist at noon on Thursday, January 20. But the swearing in is only part of the festivities being hosted by the nation's capital city.

Events begin on Tuesday, January 18, and end on Friday, January 21. A full lineup of events, including balls, concerts, prayer services, and luncheons will fill out the week. Two Student Reporters from the Scholastic Kids Press Corps are covering inaugural events for Scholastic News Online.

Gabriella Castaneda, 12, of Sacramento, California, and Noah McCullough, 8, of Katy, Texas, are also meeting the U.S. Senators from their states and taking a tour of the Capitol.

This year's theme is "Celebrating Freedom, Honoring Service," said Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC) chairman Jeanne Johnson Phillips and executive director Greg Jenkins.

"We are a nation at war, and it is fitting that the inaugural events reflect not only the great sacrifices made by our troops every day to protect our freedom, but also the cherished ideals that make our nation so unique," said Phillips.

Presidential inaugurals set the tone for a new administration and reflect a President's personality. From the inaugural ball themes to the Bible chosen for the swearing-in ceremony, each inauguration develops its own style.

Swearing-In Ceremony

President George W. Bush will be sworn in by U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist and deliver his second inaugural address on the west front of the U.S. Capitol. Speaker Dennis Hastert will administer the oath of office to Vice President Dick Cheney. Joining them will be their families, members of the Cabinet and Administration, members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, U.S. Supreme Court, Diplomatic Corps, Joint Chiefs of Staff, and other invited guests.

Following the swearing-in ceremony, the President will join invited guests in Statuary Hall for the congressional luncheon. After lunch, the President will be escorted by U.S. Army Major General Galen Jackman to the east side of the U.S. Capitol for the pass in review, then onto the presidential motorcade for the start of the parade.

The Parade

Military and civilian bands march along a 1.7-mile route from Capitol Hill to the White House, beginning at about 2:30 p.m., after the swearing-in. The parade route starts at the intersection of Constitution and Pennsylvania avenues and continues down Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House.

The parade includes some 11,000 people, floats, vehicles, and horses. As many states as possible are usually represented in the parade, which usually lasts about two hours.

Inaugural Balls and Festivities

The first official inaugural ball was hosted by President James Madison in 1809. The President and First Lady watched their guests dance from a platform, then joined them for a formal supper afterward.

Balls are typically divided by states and are held at area hotels and other spaces, such as the Kennedy Center.

Check back to Scholastic News Online often to get firsthand reports on inaugural events from Scholastic's Student Reporters.

Inaugural Calendar of Events

TUESDAY, JANUARY 18
    SALUTING THOSE WHO SERVE
    The MCI Center
    2:00 - 4:00 p.m.

    CHAIRMAN'S RECEPTION
    Mellon Auditorium
    5:00 - 6:00 p.m.

    AMERICA'S FUTURE ROCKS TODAY
    The Armory
    5:00 - 7:00 p.m.

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 19
    CHAIRMAN'S BRUNCH
    Mellon Auditorium
    10:30 a.m. - noon

    A CELEBRATION OF FREEDOM
    The Ellipse
    4:00 - 6:00 p.m.

THURSDAY, JANUARY 20
    ST. JOHN'S CHURCH SERVICE
    St. John's Church
    9:00 - 10:00 a.m.

    OATH OF OFFICE CEREMONY
    US Capitol
    noon

    INAUGURAL PARADE
    Pennsylvania Ave.
    2:00 - 4:30 p.m.

    INAUGURAL BALLS
    7:00 p.m. - 1:00 a.m.

FRIDAY, JANUARY 21
    NATIONAL PRAYER SERVICE
    National Cathedral
    10:00 - 11:00 a.m.