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Biden plans 'America United' inauguration theme

The ceremony is slated to occur two weeks to the day after a violent mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol at Trump’s urging.
Image: US President Barack Obama (L) walks down
President-elect Joe Biden's inaugural theme will be "America United" and will include in several activities alongside former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, and their spouses.Saul Loeb / AFP via Getty Images file

President-elect Joe Biden’s inaugural theme will be “America United” and he will partake in several activities alongside former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton to underscore that message of unity, his inaugural committee said Monday.

“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,” Biden’s inaugural committee said in a statement.

The ceremony is slated to occur two weeks to the day after a violent mob of President Donald Trump's supporters stormed the Capitol at Trump’s urging.

Following the swearing-in ceremony on Inauguration Day on Jan. 20, Biden, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and their spouses will hold a socially distanced Pass in Review ceremony — a military ceremony where the newly sworn-in president reviews military readiness.

Next, the committee said, Biden, Harris, as well as Obama, Bush, Clinton and their spouses, will lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington.

Trump will not attend the inauguration. Vice President Mike Pence will attend.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether Pence would participate in the wreath-laying ceremony.

Gatherings of the living former presidents have been rare. Former President Jimmy Carter, 96, and former first lady Rosalynn Carter, 93, have said they will not attend.

Biden, the committee said, will then participate in the military escort to the White House.

“This inauguration marks a new chapter for the American people — one of healing, of unifying, of coming together, of an America united,” committee CEO Tony Allen said in the statement. “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."

As NBC News previously reported, most of the celebration will be largely virtual because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The footprint of the swearing-in ceremony will be "extremely limited" to ensure that officials and guests follow social-distancing and other safety protocols, the committee has previously said. Those protocols have taken on increasing public safety importance in the days since the attack on the Capitol.

Later Monday, the National Parks Service said it would close access to the Washington Monument until January 24, citing "credible threats to visitors and park resources."

"Groups involved in the Jan. 6, 2021 riots at the US Capitol continue to threaten to disrupt the 59th presidential inauguration on Jan. 20," the agency said.

On Sunday, Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser sent a letter to Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf asking federal officials to "cancel any and all" and "deny any applications" for permits for public gatherings in the city from Jan. 11 to Jan. 24.

In a press conference on Monday, Bowser encouraged Americans not to travel to D.C. for the inauguration.

"Our goals right now are to encourage Americans to participate virtually and to protect the District of Columbia from a repeat of the violent insurrection experienced at the Capitol and its grounds on January the 6th," she said.