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"Celebrating America's Spirit Together"

On Saturday, January 20, 2001 at 12:02 p.m. at the West Front of the Capitol, George W. Bush placed his hand on the Bible, swore the oath of office and officially became the 43rd president of the United States. 
In addition to the swearing in of the new president and the delivery of his inaugural address, a host of activities are organized to celebrate the arrival of a new administration.  The Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC) plans many of these events and is aided by the Armed Forces Inaugural Committee (AFIC), a joint task force of the five Armed Forces branches.  The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies (JCCIC) is responsible for all events held at the Capitol.
Jeanne Johnson Phillips, a businesswoman from Dallas, Texas, served as executive director of the 2001 Presidential Inaugural Committee.  She helped organized both of Governor Bush's inaugurations, and most recently served as a senior adviser on finance for the Bush campaign and as deputy chair of operations for Victory 2000 at the Republican National Committee.  Also shown above are the four co-chairs, Mercer and Gabrielle Reynolds of Cincinnati, Ohio and Bill and Kathy DeWitt, also of Cincinnati.
Organization of the PIC was delayed due to the battle over Florida.  However, AFIC continued with its planning and preparation during this time, providing a solid foundation for PIC when it finally formed in the second half of December.  Under the theme "Celebrating America's Spirit Together," PIC organized activities ranging from a star-studded opening celebration at Lincoln Memorial to a prayer service at Washington National Cathedral.  Given the compressed timeframe for planning, the festivities were somewhat trimmed down; for example there was no open festival on the Mall.  Nonetheless all the major elements were present including the parade down Pennsylvania Avenue and the inaugural balls. 
On January 2, 2001 the PIC announced the inaugural theme: "Celebrating America's Spirit Together" as well as the schedule of events.

Celebrating America's Spirit Together
Thursday, January 18, 2001
The Presidential Inaugural Opening Celebration
Lincoln Memorial
3:30 pm - Ceremony begins.
Open to the public.

Candlelight Dinners
Washington Hilton Hotel
National Building Museum
Union Station
8:00 p.m. - Dinners begin.
Not a public event.
Cost: $2,500 per ticket

Friday, January 19, 2001
Laura Bush Celebrates America's Authors
Constitution Hall
10:00 am - Event begins.
Ticket required, limited seating.

The Vice President-Elect Salutes America's Veterans
George Washington University Smith Center
2:00 pm - Event begins.
Ticket required, limited seating.

Concert Celebrating America's Youth
MCI Center
4:00 pm - Event begins.
Tickets required, limited seating.
Cost: $5

Wyoming State Society Event
Chamber of Commerce Building
Ticketed through Wyoming State Society.

Texas Black Tie & Boots Ball
Marriott Wardman Park Hotel
Ticketed through Texas State Society.

Saturday, January 20, 2001
St. John's Church Service
9:30 a.m. - Prayer service begins.
Private prayer service for the families and close friends of President-elect Bush and Vice President-elect Cheney.

White House Coffee Reception
10:25 a.m.
President-elect Bush and Mrs. Bush, the Vice President-elect and Mrs. Cheney have coffee with President and Senator Clinton and Vice President and Mrs. Gore.

Inaugural Ceremony - Swearing-In
United States Capitol
11:30 a.m. - Ceremony begins.

Inaugural Luncheon
Statuary Hall, U.S. Capitol
1:00 p.m.

Inaugural Parade
Pennsylvania Avenue
2:00 pm - Parade begins.
No ticket required for public standing areas.
Ticket required for bleacher seating - $100, $50, $15.

Inaugural Balls
(Eight Locations)
7:00 pm - Events begin.
Cost: $125 per ticket 

Sunday, January 21, 2001
Washington National Cathedral Prayer Service
8:30 a.m. - Prayer service begins.

Sunday White House Tours
3:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Note: In addition to the above events, President-elect Bush and Mrs. Bush attended an Inaugural Underwriter Reception at the Library of Congress from about 6:15 p.m. to 6:45 p.m on Friday, January 19, 2001. 
PIC operated in Washington, DC out of a 65,000 square foot government-owned space prepared by the General Services Administration.  It raised the bulk of the money needed for inaugural activities through donations, sales of tickets to various events, and commemoratives as well as through in-kind contributions.  PIC accepted contributions of up to $100,000 and raised a total of about $40 million.  Congress also appropriated monies for the inauguration.  JCCIC received $1,000,000 for activities at the Capitol, over half of which went to constructing the platform and $5,961,000 was provided to reimburse the District of Columbia for expenses related to inauguration activities [H.J.Res. 125].  City costs included security, building the parade review and media stands (the public bleachers along Pennsylvania Avenue were a PIC expense), and a whole range of preparatory work done by the Department of Public Works.  The final cost to the federal government will likely be more than the $5.9 million; for example, in early Feb. 2001, DC Police Chief Charles Ramsey said that while $2.3 million was provided to cover security, his department spent about $3 million on overtime and other jurisdictions added an additional $900,000. 

2001 Presidential Inaugural Committee
Armed Forces Inaugural Committee
Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies
S. CON. RES. 89--Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies

Photos--Preparing the Viewing Stands for the Inaugural Parade
Jan. 15, 2001--As finishing touches are applied, a network television crew looks over the site in preparation for Saturday.

Jan. 2001--Blue carpet treatment.
Jan. 10, 2001--Only ten days to go.
Dec. 2000--Construction continues.

Nov. 28, 2000--Workmen begin preparing the viewing stands for the Inaugural Parade on Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House.

"j20-dc" Protests
The controversy over the outcome in Florida served as a catalyst for a number of protests. Some of the same activists who demonstrated at the World Trade Organization meetings in Seattle, and continued to speak out at the World Bank/IMF meetings in Washington, DC, the national nominating conventions in Philadelphia and Los Angeles, and the presidential debates, were involved.  The "Justice Action Movement (J.A.M)," which described itself as "a unified multi-issue coalition advocating a political system that gives each person full representation and justice," planned nonviolent protests and an "InaugurAUCTION! ball.  Jesse Jackson called for "A Week of Moral Outrage" January 15-20 and for "Voter Integrity Rallies and Prayer Vigils" to be held at local federal buildings on Inauguration Day.  According to a National Organization of Women press release, "Feminists will be out in force on inauguration day to demonstrate that while our votes weren't all counted, our voices will be heard."  An "Inaugural Day Voter March" was planned "to protest election irregularities and the disenfranchisement of voters." Supporters of death row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal gathered as well.  Protesters bearing signs were mixed in along the parade route.  They greeted the Texas float with boos as it passed Freedom Plaza.

Independent Media Center-DC

Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001  Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action.