When President-elect Joe Biden takes the oath of office Wednesday, he’ll immediately face an almost unparalleled series of challenges, raising fresh questions about how he will achieve his long-promised unity in a nation so deeply divided. (Jan. 18)
WASHINGTON – There won’t be a traditional inaugural parade down Pennsylvania Avenue on Wednesday, but there will be a virtual “Parade Across America.”
President-elect Joe Biden’s virtual parade, which will follow his swearing-in ceremony at the U.S. Capitol and a visit to Arlington National Cemetery, will include performers and other representatives from all 50 states and several U.S. territories.
The event, billed as a “Parade Across America,” will celebrate the nation’s heroes and highlight the diversity, heritage and resilience of the country, the Presidential Inaugural Committee said Monday.
“As a nation, we are strengthened by our respect for one another,” said Tony Allen, the committee’s chief executive officer and the president of Delaware State University. “By lifting up voices from all walks of life, in every corner of our country, we want the first moments of the Biden-Harris Administration to be a celebration of an inclusive, resilient united America.”
Biden’s inauguration will be a scaled-down celebration, with less pomp and circumstance than in previous years, because of the health risks posed by the coronavirus pandemic as well as security risks emerging after the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection. The traditional inaugural parade is one of several events that have either been canceled or reimagined.
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The virtual “Parade Across America,” which will be livestreamed, will kick off with Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris receiving a presidential escort from 15th Street in Washington to the White House.
The entourage will include the University of Delaware Drumline and the Howard University Drumline from the alma maters of Biden and Harris. In addition to the drumlines, the escort will feature representatives of every branch of the military, including the U.S. Army Band, a Joint Service Honor Guard, and the Commander-in-Chief’s Guard and Fife and Drum Corps from the 3rd U.S. Infantry “The Old Guard.”
Actor, director and producer Tony Goldwyn, who played U.S. President Fitzgerald Grant on “Scandal” opposite Kerry Washington, will host the parade.
Performers and athletes participating include comedian Jon Stewart; the band New Radicals, which will reunite for the first time in 22 years; DJ Cassidy’s Pass The Mic, featuring Earth Wind & Fire, Nile Rodgers, Kathy Sledge, The Trans Chorus of Los Angeles, The Washington Chorus, The Triumph Baptist Church Choir and everyday Americans; singer and actress Andra Day, whose song “Rise Up” has become featured at many social justice protests; figure skater Kaitlyn Saunders, also known as The Skate Kid; Olympic athletes Nathan Chen, Allyson Felix and Katie Ledecky; and skateboarder Nathan Apodaca, also known as DoggFace.
Baltimore choir director Kenyatta Hardison recorded an emotional live video of Baltimore’s Cardinal Shehan School’s choir singing Andra Day’s song “Rise Up,” and the video went viral.
The parade also will include the United States Coast Guard Band and the U.S. Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon and will feature a Dance Across America led by director and choreographer Kenny Ortega. The segment will include 275 participants in 30 states and two territories. Additionally, the Ryan Martin Foundation, a wheelchair basketball program, will join the parade.
Several people will be celebrated as heroes, including Dr. Jason Campbell, who is known as the “TikTok Doc.” A resident in the Department of Anesthesiology in Portland, Oregon, Campbell used the platform to entertain and lift spirits during the COVID-19 pandemic and connect with young people.
Others to be featured include Cathy Cluck, a history teacher at Westlake High School in Austin, Texas, who went on a 15-day road trip to virtually teach history from the places where it happened; Mama Mikki Stevens, an 80-year-old performer from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, who leads the musical/comedy performance organization Red Hot Mamas; and Jason Zgonc, a 12-year-old trumpeter from Atlanta who played all summer during hospital workers’ break times to cheer them up.
In addition, the parade will feature performers and speakers in communities across the country.
The event will be livestreamed starting at 3:15 p.m. ET at BidenInaugural.org and on the inaugural committee’s social media platforms, including YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Twitch. It also will be carried live on the committee’s streaming partners, including Amazon Prime Video, Microsoft Bing, NewsNOW from Fox, and AT&T U-verse (Channel 212/1212 in SD/HD) and DIRECTV (Channel 201).
Michael Collins covers the White House. Reach him on Twitter @mcollinsNEWS.
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