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So, You Have Some Questions About the Inauguration

We've answered some frequently asked questions about the 2013 Inauguration.

Later this month, President Obama will begin his second term. Hundreds of thousands of people are expected make their way to Washington to watch the Inauguration, and we know a lot of people have questions about the ceremony and how they can be part of it. So we've put together some answers.

When is the Inauguration?

Inaugural festivities begin with a National Day of Service on January 19. Americans from all across the country -- including President Obama and his family -- will join together to participate in service projects in their communities. Click here for more information.

President Obama's first term ends on January 20 at noon, at which point, the President and Vice President will be sworn-in for a second term in a small ceremony at the White House.

It's a longstanding tradition, however, that when the date of the swearing-in falls on a Sunday, a separate, public inauguration ceremony is held the next day.

So on January 21, President Obama will join Presidents Reagan, Eisenhower, Wilson, Hayes, Taylor, and Monroe in marking a second, ceremonial swearing-in event on a Monday. That event will occur at the U.S. Capitol, and it's when President Obama will give his Inaugural Address.

How can I participate?

First, you can join President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Biden, and members of the Cabinet by participating in the National Day of Service. Sign up for an event in your community here.

If you want to watch the event from the National Mall, it is completely open to the public starting at 4th Street NW. Areas closer to the Capitol are ticketed. If you have questions about getting tickets for President Obama's ceremonial swearing-in or other events on January 21, please visit the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies information page at

There's also an Inaugural Parade after the ceremony concludes. Tickets aren't required, though you do need them to access the bleachers. Public access points to the parade are available between 4th Street and 14th Street.

For additional information, check out the website of the Presidential Inauguration Committee.

What should I wear?

The Inaugural Ceremony is outside, in January. You'll likely be on your feet for long periods of time, and it's likely to be cold. We recommend that you dress warmly and wear comfortable shoes.

Are there things I should leave at home?

According to the Presidential Inaugural Committee, the following items are prohibited and will not be allowed through any security checkpoints: aerosols, animals (guide dogs will be allowed), backpacks, bags larger than 6” x 4” x 8”, balloons, bicycles, coolers, glass or thermal containers, horns, laser pointers, mace/pepper spray, packages, structures, sign supports, weapons, and any additional items deemed a safety hazard by security.

How do I get around?

During the inauguration, much of the National Mall and the areas around it will be completely closed to vehicle traffic. We really recommend you use public transportation and avoid the metro stations closest to the Capitol. You can find maps and schedules by visiting the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s website at

What if I can't make it to Washington, DC?

Don’t worry -- we've got you covered. You'll be able to watch a live feed of the event on, and we'll be sharing photos, information, and excerpts from President Obama's Inaugural Address on our Facebook and Twitter feeds.