Presidential Inauguration: 2009 vs. 2017

On Friday, January 20, Washington D.C. once again hosted the inaugural ceremony for the peaceful transition of presidential power. This year marked the inauguration of the 45th President of the United States of America, Donald Trump, and the end of President Barack Obama’s second term. Just eight years ago, Obama was standing at the same podium, taking the same oath, on the same day, in front of the U.S. Capitol Building. Although the ceremony itself was almost identical to this year’s, there were also some big differences.

1. It is no secret that the biggest difference between 2009 and 2017 was the crowd sizes on the National Mall. Most likely due to the historical event of being the first African-American U.S. president, Obama’s inauguration saw a record-breaking number of 1.8 million people in attendance. While there are no firm numbers for the attendance at Trump’s inauguration, an estimated 900,000 people attended.

2. Not only was the inauguration attendance significantly different, but TV coverage views differed as well. An estimated 31 million viewers watched Trump’s inauguration, whereas 37.8 million watched Obama’s first inauguration.

3. Let’s not forget the weather. We can blame climate change for this one. Eight years ago, Obama’s inauguration was a cold, windy 28 degree day. Contrarily, this year, temperatures rose almost 50 degrees.

4. Lastly, there were different performing lineups at both inaugurations.:

Trump’s Inaugural Concert consisted of DJ RaviDrums, Sam Moore, The U.S. Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corp, The Frontmen of Country with Lee Greenwood, Jon Voight, 3 Doors Down, The Piano Guys, and Toby Keith.

Obama’s first inauguration consisted of Bruce Springsteen, Mary J. Blige, Jon Bon Jovi, James Taylor, John Legend, Josh Groban, Sheryl Crow, Steve Carell, Samuel L. Jackson, Will. I. Am, Usher, Stevie Wonder, U2, and Beyoncé.

Although there were some significant differences, both inaugural addresses emphasized bringing America together in order to achieve a successful future. The theme of unity was prominent by both presidents. Also, both speeches painted a picture of gloomy America, in desperate need of reforms. With that being said, the inaugurations both proved the beauty of the democratic system. These peaceful exchanges of power are able to give us hope that a system based on representation will not fail its people, and that there will be a brighter tomorrow.


Images courtesy of The Baltimore Sun.