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An inauguration like we’ve never seen before

An unprecedented convergence of events ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration
Published: Jan. 19, 2021 at 9:00 AM EST
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - The U.S. Capitol was a scene of chaos and destruction on Jan. 6. Now, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are set to take the oath of office on the same stage that was stormed by rioters.

There is a seven-foot fence around the Capitol grounds, and more than 20,000 armed National Guard troops are here.

“We’re totally focused on this moment at the Capitol that people all over the world watch,” said Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.).

Blunt leads the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies that handles the ceremonies at the Capitol.

Here’s what you won’t see this year: The lunch in Statuary Hall because of COVID-19. President Trump is not attending, so there won’t be a joint procession or the outgoing president’s helicopter departure.

Events off of Capitol Hill, like the parade and concerts, are going virtual. Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) is the chair of the Presidential Inaugural Committee, which is organizing those celebrations.

“We don’t want to do anything on January 20th that will lead to a lot of illnesses and even deaths,” Clyburn said.

A medical team is enforcing COVID protocols for the 1,000 lawmakers and guests invited to the ceremony. It’s a much smaller number than the hundreds of thousands who historically gather for this American tradition.

This year, there will be more law enforcement than attendees -- working towards a safe and peaceful transition of power.

Something new is a primetime event called “Celebrating America.” The program will air on NBC, CBS, ABC, MSNBC, CNN, and online.

The special airs at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT and features speeches by Biden and Harris. It will be hosted by Tom Hanks and will include performances by famous musicians like the Foo Fighters and John Legend.

Senior Reporter Ted Fioraliso and Multimedia Journalist Natalie Grim contributed to this report.

Copyright 2021 Gray DC. All rights reserved.

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