Let’s establish one thing up front: This is not a political post. But whether you voted blue or red (or not at all) back in November, you can’t deny that us Southerners love a little pomp and circumstance. Enter Monday’s Presidential Inauguration, which will feature pageantry in abundance. Forty-fourth President Barack Obama may not hail from the South, but we can proudly claim Vice-President and Delaware-native Joe Biden as one of our own, not to mention we consider Washington, D.C. our home turf.
Here are five more Southern touches we’re looking forward to at the inauguration:
- Inaugural Poet Richard Blanco hails from Miami. On Monday he’ll read an original poem penned specifically for the event. In doing so, he will join an elite group of only four other poets who have read at an inauguration: Robert Frost, Elizabeth Alexander and Southerners Maya Angelou and Miller Williams.
- President Obama will take the oath of office on Georgian Martin Luther King, Jr.’s personal Bible, which will be on loan from the King family. (During the ceremony the President will also use a Bible that belonged to 16th president Abraham Lincoln.) The swearing-in ceremony will take place on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, making the selection particularly poignant.
- Texans Beyonce Knowles and Kelly Clarkson will both perform during the inauguration ceremony, singing the National Anthem and “My Country Tis of Thee” respectively. R&B chart topper Usher (from Chattanooga, Tennessee) is among the star-studded line-up taking the stage during the two official inaugural balls Mr. and Mrs. Obama will attend. Plus, the inaugural parade will feature a slew of high school, college and military bands from across the South: Pearl River, Mississippi; Tulsa, Oklahoma; Silver City, Maryland; Calera, Alabama and more!
- In addition to the two official galas mentioned above, Washington, D.C. will also host a, well, host of state inaugural balls including Arkansas, Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia. and (No doubt these Southern fetes will be the belles of the (inaugural) balls.
- Eight Americans are being honored for their public service in a new inaugural tradition called Citizen Co-Chairs. Two honorees are from the South: Liz McCartney, of Louisiana, who is the co-founder of the St. Bernard Project, a non-profit providing aid to disaster-impacted communities, and Ida Edwards, of Virginia, a retired nurse turned public health advocate. Among their co-chair duties, spearheading the January 19 day of service (for ways to get involved in your area visit here.)
And while there’s nothing particularly Southern about it, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to share the Fairmont Hotel‘s over-the-top “President and First Lady” package, which features, among other luxuries, a four-night stay in the hotel’s 2,000 square foot suite, his and hers robes embroidered with the presidential seal, and detail service from two “secret service” agents. The cost of all this decadence? Oh, just $100,000.