Today, a Navy SEAL will stand along with his colleagues in the Army, Air Force, Marines, Navy, Coast Guard, Reserves, National Guard, Special Forces, and Military Intelligence. These representatives will comprise the ten-man honor guard, the “guardians of the colors”. They will share the stage and witness as Barack Obama is sworn in as the 44th President of the United States of America, as they had done in the past.
It is expected that about 1.5 billion people from all over the world will watch the inauguration. Every step of the way is choreographed and planned, down to the President’s first meal and the gargantuan dessert — a 500-pound cheesecake made by a Chicago company topped with a chocolate presidential seal.
The celebrations were planned and designed to pay tribute to the new President’s hero, Abraham Lincoln. The theme of the inauguration is “A New Birth of Freedom”, a line from the now famous Lincoln speech, the Gettysburg Address. Incidentally, 2009 marks President Lincoln’s 200th birthday.
The inauguration speech will be given in front of the Capitol building. From there, there will be exquisite views of the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial. The façade of the stage will have five flags, with the first Union Flag mounted on both ends. The current-day 50-star flag will be in the middle, and on either side of that will be the 21-star flag of the United States, used in 1819 when Illinois, Obama’s home state, joined the Union.
Security will be at its peak, with 5,265 surveillance cameras monitoring events all over the city. The 4,100-strong Washington police force will be joined by more than 4,000 officers from all over the country. Secret Service plans are withheld for obvious reasons.
When Barack Obama places his left hand on the bible that was once Abraham Lincoln’s, the US Armed Forces will have a new Commander-in-Chief. What that will bring is yet to be seen, but all our hopes go towards an even brighter – and safer – future for all of us.