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Obama to be sworn in for his second term today... and tomorrow

Tradition dictates that inauguration ceremonies are not held on Sundays but the US constitution says that a president must be sworn in on 20 January.

A youthful looking Barack Obama being sworn in for his first term four years ago
A youthful looking Barack Obama being sworn in for his first term four years ago
Image: Elise Amendola/AP/Press Association Images

BARACK OBAMA WILL be sworn in for his second term as US president later today in a low-key affair before the main ceremony at Capitol Hill in Washington tomorrow.

Constitutionally the US president must be sworn in on 20 January but as it is a Sunday tradition dictates that the pomp and ceremony in front of thousands of people in Washington does not take place on the day of rest.

Or in the words of the presidential inauguration committee: “Inaugural Ceremonies are not held on a Sunday because Courts and other public institutions are not open.”

So just before midday eastern time in the US (5pm Irish Time) Obama will be re-inaugurated in the White House Blue Room in the presence of his wife Michelle and daughters Malia and Sasha with the chief justice of the US Supreme Court, John Roberts, administering the oath.

The privacy of the ceremony today is underlined by the fact there are no official events this evening but that’s probably because tomorrow at 11.30am, hundreds of thousands of people will gather by the west steps of the US Capitol to watch Obama being sworn in, again.

The West Front of the Capitol in Washington is dressed in red, white and blue ahead of the 57th Presidential Inauguration tomorrow (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Obama is due to take the oath of office with two bibles, the one used by president Abraham Lincoln during his first inauguration – and used for Obama’s first in 2009 – and a bible used by the civil rights leader Dr Martin Luther King.

The US Marine Band, James Taylor, Kelly Clarkson and Beyoncé will provide the music for the day before an inauguration parade takes place along Pennsylvania Avenue.

Later in the evening the President will attend two inauguration balls – compared to ten in 2009 – with one for US servicemen and women and another which is simply titled the ‘Inaugural Ball’.

Obama follows in the footsteps of Presidents Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan in taking the oath of office on a Sunday before taking it again the following day and addressing the public in a keynote speech as he will do tomorrow.

Read: Katy Perry, Usher and cast of Glee to sing Obama into a second term

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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