20 Jan :Barack Hussein Obama will be sworn in as America’s 44th and first black President on Tuesday, bringing a message of hope to a nation hungry for change after eight years of George W Bush regime.
The 47-year-old first African-American to enter to the White House, Obama would be sworn in by the US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts at noon on Tuesday (2230 IST) at the Capitol Hill.
Braving severe cold, an estimated two million people from all over the country have thronged Washington to be a witness to the historic occasion, when a black would become the US President.
Obama won the 4th November presidential elections defeating the Republican candidate John McCain. At a dinner hosted for McCain last evening, Obama showered praise on his one-time rival.
The inaugural ceremony, to be attended by hundreds and thousands of people, is being held under an unprecedented security cover.
Thousands of security personnel from more than a dozen security agencies and sharp shooters in plain clothes have been deployed in and around the Capitol.
The actual inaugural ceremony itself would begin at 11 a.m. today US time (2130 IST) on the West Front of the US Capitol with musical selections by the US States Marine Band, followed by the San Francisco Body Chorus and the San Francisco Girls Chorus.
The Democratic Senator from California Dianne Feinstein in the capacity as the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies would deliver the welcome address and call the function to order. This would be followed by invocation by Dr. Rick Warren.
Thereafter Joe Biden would be administered oath of office to Vice President by Supreme Court Associate Justice John Paul Stevens.
Following musical selection by composer John Williams, the US Supreme Court Chief Justice would administer the oath of office of US Presidency to Obama.
Earlier in the morning, the outgoing President George W Bush would welcome his successor Obama and his wife Michelle Obama at the North Portico of the White House some two hours before the swearing in ceremony.
Thereafter Bush along with his wife would have coffee with the incoming first family along with the Vice President- elect Biden and members of the Joint Congressional Committee.
It is at 10-45 a.m. (2115 IST) that Bush would depart the White House en route to the Capitol to participate in the swearing in ceremony.
In television interviews over the weekend and at his last press conference, Bush said he is looking forward to have Obama as the President.
Obama, who was a bitter critic of Bush during the election campaign days, now believes that his predecessor is a "good man". Obama said in an interview.
Soon after the inaugural ceremony is over, Obama would host a departure ceremony for Bush, would leave for his new home in Midland Texas from the Andrews Air Force Base.
Obama and his deputy Biden would proceed towards the historic Statuary Hall at US Capitol for a luncheon hosted by Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies.
The inaugural parade would start at 2-30 p.m. (0100 IST Wednesday) from the US Capitol to White House.
Later, several dozen inaugural balls are scheduled for Obama with the Presidential Inaugural Committee itself hosting as many as ten inaugural balls including the Commander-in- Chief’s Ball, the Youth Ball and the President Obama Home State Ball.
Obama is expected to appear in the Commander-in- Chief’s Ball at the National Building Museum.
During the ceremony, the incoming First Lady will carry the Lincoln Bible to the platform and hold it while the oath of office is administered.
Obama is expected to deliver the Inaugural address at approximately 12 noon (2230 IST). The new President will then proceed to the Capitol where he will sign cabinet secretary nomination certificates.
The President and First Lady will travel with the Presidential Escort to the Presidential Reviewing Stand where they will meet up with their daughters and the Biden family to watch the rest of the parade.
The day for the incoming President and the Vice President would begin with a church service in the morning at St. John’s Episcopal Church. From here they would head to towards the White House.