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Pics/Videos: See the 200K flags, 27K+ troops, light memorials and more marking Biden’s inauguration

200,000 flags and 56 pillars of light on the National Mall for Joe Biden's inauguration. (Presidential Inaugural Committee/Released)
January 19, 2021

President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration will take place Wednesday, and Washington, D.C. has been transformed to mark the presidential transition, with some activities taking place Tuesday.

On Tuesday evening, Biden’s inaugural committee will hold a COVID-19 memorial. At 5:30 p.m. EST, 400 lights surrounding the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool will be featured to represent the nearly 400,000 American lives lost to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

The committee shared a preview of the lightning on social media:

Nearly 200,000 state and territory flags will also cover the entire National Mall to represent Americans who could not attend the inauguration. 56 “Pillars of Light” will extend blue beams into the sky in the representation of the 56 American states and territories.

Hundreds of cities across the nation will join in with lighting tributes at the same time.

Three separate events will also be held Tuesday evening to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander, Black and African, and Latino communities, respectively.

On Wednesday, a livestream celebrating young Americans will kick off the day from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. EST. The inaugural ceremonies will follow, and Biden will join Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on the west side of the U.S. Capitol where they will take their oaths of office.

Photos of the Capitol area show banners already hanging in preparation for the transitional ceremony.

Also on Wednesday, a virtual parade will take place to “celebrate America’s heroes, highlight Americans from all walks of life in different states and regions, and reflect on the diversity, heritage, and resilience of the country as we begin a new American era.”

Biden’s inauguration committee had announced plans earlier this month for a scaled down ceremony with virtual events in an effort to reduce the spread of coronavirus.

Biden will be receiving a socially-distanced military escort from 15th Street to the White House in a brief appearance “providing the American people and world with historic images of the President-elect proceeding to the White House without attracting large crowds and gatherings,” the committee said.

Vice President Mike Pence will be attending Biden’s inauguration ceremonies, but President Donald Trump will not. Trump will instead be flying out of D.C. Wednesday morning, with a brief send-off ceremony at Joint Base Andrews.

25,000 National Guard troops deployed to DC to support the inauguration, and on Tuesday, another 2,750 active duty troops were also deployed.

New Jersey National Guard troops set up security positions in Washington, D.C., Jan. 12, 2021. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Matt Hecht)

In a statement to American Military News, a Pentagon official said about 2,000 of the active-duty troops are there for ceremonial support, such as marching bands and honor guards. The remaining 750 are deploying for “contingency support,” providing various explosives and hazardous material handling and emergency medical expertise.