President Obama's newly constituted Presidential Inaugural Committee announced Thursday that he will kick off his second inauguration with a National Day of Service, asking Americans to participate in community service projects on January 19, a day before he is sworn into office for a second term.
"This year's inaugural will reflect our belief that working together, we can keep moving our country forward and fulfill the promise of the American dream for all families," said Mr. Obama in a statement.
The committee, which is chaired by several high-profile Obama supporters, including actress Eva Longoria, is tasked with planning the inauguration's attendant pomp and circumstance, including the inaugural balls and the parade.
The country's four living former presidents - George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter - have been named as the committee's honorary co-chairmen.
The legwork of the committee is being handled by several of Mr. Obama's trusted aides, including Obama 2012 campaign manager Jim Messina, who will oversee the parade preparation, and Julianna Smoot, a former White House Social Secretary, who will coordinate the inaugural balls.
Obama's second swearing-in will mark the nation's 57th presidential inauguration. Due to a quirk of the calendar, Mr. Obama will be sworn in privately at the White House on January 20, which is a Sunday, and the public ceremony at the U.S. Capitol will occur on January 21, which also happens to be the federal holiday celebrating the birth of civil rights lion Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The inauguration's hoopla is expected to fall short of the frenzy surrounding Mr. Obama's first inauguration four years ago, when 1.9 million people converged on Washington, D.C., to celebrate the inauguration of the nation's first black president.
This year, due to the lingering economic anxiety and the possibility of grave uncertainty surrounding the "fiscal cliff" negotiations, officials are striving to project a more somber, low-key tone. The inauguration's theme - "Faith in America's Future" - appears to be a tacit nod to the more somber tone, evoking a sense of American resolve in the face of adversity.
Kathy Webb, the deputy director of Bill Clinton's second inaugural committee, explained the optical considerations weighing on the event, telling Politico, "You can't throw a $50 million party when so many people are hurting and when we're at war, our troops are in harm's way. You might cut back a little on some of the glitter...you make sure most of the activities are a little bit lower key and accessible."