When President-elect Joe Biden takes the oath of office Wednesday, things will look a little different than they usually do on Inauguration Day.
For instance, he won’t be able to gaze out onto a National Mall packed with hundreds of thousands of spectators eager to witness history in the making. Both the pandemic and the recent deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol prevent that possibility.
But he will see the Mall packed with a perfect tribute to all of those Americans who can’t be there in person.
The National Mall has been filled with nearly 200,000 flags as part of an art display called “Field of Flags,” and on Monday, the Presidential Inaugural Committee, or PIC, illuminated it in a stunning tribute.
As night fell on Washington, D.C., 56 pillars of light were turned on, representing all 50 states and U.S. territories, in honor of the 46th president’s upcoming swearing in.
According to a press release, the flags themselves represent “the American people who are unable to travel to Washington and reflect the PIC’s commitment to an inclusive and safe event that everyone can enjoy from their home.”
The display is part of Biden’s inauguration theme, “America United.”
“At a time of unprecedented crisis and deep divisions, America United reflects the beginning of a new national journey that restores the soul of America, brings the country together, and creates a path to a brighter future,” PIC explained in a statement issued last week.
In the same statement, the committee’s CEO, Tony Allen, said, “It is time to turn the page on this era of division. The inaugural activities will reflect our shared values and serve as a reminder that we are stronger together than we are apart."