Organizers for President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration on Wednesday finished setting up about 200,000 flags on Monday, representing the American people who cannot travel to the inauguration amid a worsening coronavirus pandemic and extraordinary security precautions. The flags represent all of the states and U.S. territories, and they also are meant to honor the 400,000 Americans who will have officially died from COVID-19 by the time Biden is sworn in.
The Presidential Inaugural Committee highlighted the "Field of Flags" on Monday night, with 56 pillars of light — one for each of the 50 states and six U.S. territories — beamed into the air for 46 second, a reference to Biden becoming the 46th U.S. president.
Biden arrives in Washington for his inauguration on Tuesday, and he and incoming first lady Jill Biden will spend Tuesday night at Blair House, near the White House. Outgoing President Trump plans to leave the White House on Wednesday morning, making him the first president since Andrew Johnson — the first impeached president — to skip the inauguration of his successor. Trump has made no public appearances in six days.
Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, who resigned as a U.S. senator on Monday, volunteered in service events to honor Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday. They will take part in a memorial at the reflecting pool near the Lincoln Memorial on Tuesday to honor the Americans who lost their lives to COVID-19.