For the second time in United States history, the presidential inauguration coincides with Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (Jan. 21). Since 1986 when the third Monday of January was designated as a federally recognized holiday for Martin Luther King, Jr., only President Bill Clinton’s second term inauguration has landed on the same day. How significant is it that this year, the 2013 inauguration, visitors to Washington, DC will celebrate two important African American leaders in one weekend with commemorative events, parades and community service. President Barack Obama, accepted as the first African American to be elected President of the U.S., is sworn in for his second term and the nation commemorates the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Visitors can pay tribute to both President Obama and Dr. King as they stroll past the White House where the President lives; have a photo taken with Barack and Michelle Obama ‘s wax figures at the President’s Gallery at Madame Tussauds; or sit in the “Oval Office” at White House Gifts – and pick up a few commemorative items while there. Visit the new Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial on the National Mall, the first ever dedicated to a non-president and an African American; walk down the Lincoln Memorial steps where Dr. King delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, or stop by The Willard Intercontinental Hotel where he finished writing the speech the night prior.
There will be a number events hosted to honor and memorialized the two men in the nation’s capitol this weekend, that will include:
Saturday, Jan. 19
- Volunteers will participate in more than 1,300 service projects throughout Washington, DC’s eight wards during Martin Luther King ‘s Day of Service from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- This National Day of Service will kick off with a Service Summit on the National Mall featuring Honorary Chair Chelsea Clinton, Presidential Inaugural Committee Co-chair Eva Longoria, singer-songwriter Ben Folds, Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, television personality Star Jones, actress Angela Bassett and many more.
- The 35th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Peace and Freedom Walk will take place at three different sites – the Southwest, Southeast and Shepard Park – to symbolize King’s march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala.
- The Kids’ Inaugural Concert, hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden, will feature performances by Alicia Keys, Brad Paisley, Katy Perry, Usher and Stevie Wonder at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.
Sunday, Jan. 20
- President Obama will participate in a small private swearing-in ceremony as mandated by law.
- The Kennedy Center and Georgetown University will host a musical celebration called “Let Freedom Ring” featuring Smokey Robinson and the Let Freedom Ring choir in a free Millennium Stage concert at 6 p.m.
- The Music Center at Strathmore will host a Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Tribute and Celebration and will announce the recipients of the Children of the Dream Award, The Literary Arts Award and the Humanitarian Award at 3 p.m.
Monday, Jan. 21
- Federal offices and many public and private businesses across the nation will close in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
- President Obama will participate in a public Swearing-in Ceremony at the U.S. Capitol Building at 11:30 a.m. EST.
- The 57th Presidential Inaugural Parade will escort President Obama from the Capitol to the White House along Pennsylvania Avenue at 2:30 p.m. EST. Participants will include representatives from each of the five branches of the Armed Services, all 50 states and a variety of national groups.
- The Inaugural Ball, held across all 700,000 square feet of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center’s five exhibit halls, is expected to draw more than 35,000 revelers including A-list performances by Smokey Robinson, Marc Anthony, John Legend, Nick Cannon and the cast of “Glee.”
- The Commander In Chief’s Ball will draw more than 4,000 active-duty and reserve military troops, Medal of Honor recipients and wounded warriors. This gala will take place at the third-floor ballroom of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.
Tuesday, Jan. 22
- The Inaugural National Prayer Service will take place at 10:30 a.m. EST at the Washington National Cathedral with the President and Vice President. The private service will include prayer, readings and musical performances.