The flag display to honor those who can’t be there for Biden’s inauguration will be lit up through tomorrow night
The long-anticipated inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden is just 24 hours away. While it is cause for celebration for many, the ceremony will be vastly different than any other president-elect in history because of the pandemic and levels of security after Trump supporters stormed the Capitol on January 6, leaving five dead and a country in shock.
Instead of hundreds of thousands of people filling the National Mall in Washington D.C., close to 200,000 flags will stand in their place — a symbol to honor the nearly 400,000 people who have died in the U.S. during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as those who are not able to attend in person.
The flag display was lit up on Monday night with 56 pillars of light, symbolizing every U.S. state and territory. According to President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s inaugural committee, the art display signified a “commitment to an inclusive and safe event that everyone can enjoy from their home.” The flags will be lit up on Tuesday and Wednesday night as well.
There will, of course, be close to 25,000 National Guard troops guarding the Capitol’s streets and landmarks after rioters tried to stop the Electoral College results from being counted by Congress, citing an unfair election that has no proof or purpose. Now, the National Mall is closed, and there are dozens of fences around the Capitol and White House.
According to USA Today, the FBI has warned of possible armed protestors showing up at the U.S. Capitol and and other landmarks both in D.C. and nationally, who still believe Trump won the election.
The National Park Service announced Friday that the National Mall will be closed through the weekend except for Biden’s inauguration and various free speech events. The U.S. Navy Memorial and John Marshall Park will be designated areas for permit holders. This is a two-mile area that, in past inaugurations, was packed with tourists and supporters celebrating the incoming president.
Biden’s “America United” inauguration theme will follow the message he campaigned on. He will continue to call for unity in the most divided nation in recent history. He’s clearly laid out his priorities for his first 100 days in office, which include executive orders reversing some of Trump’s actions and rejoining international agreements like the Paris Climate Accord.
He also has slated a $1.9 trillion COVID relief package, reversing a travel ban from several majority-Muslim and African countries, and requiring masks be worn on federal property and during interstate travel of any kind.
“President-elect Biden will take action—not just to reverse the gravest damages of the Trump administration—but also to start moving our country forward,” said his incoming chief of staff, Ron Klain, in a memo to future White House staff.
While the country watches tomorrow, staring at flags instead of people, we’ll be reminded of the hope for the future and, unfortunately, just how far we’ve fallen.