Biden to Lay Wreath Joined by Former Presidents in Sign of Unity

In one of his first official acts, President-elect Joe Biden will lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier after he’s sworn in on Jan. 20, joined by three former presidents in a sign of unity and continuity, his inaugural committee said Monday.

President Donald Trump will not participate.

Biden promised throughout his campaign to work to unify the country and heal the “soul of the nation” if elected. His inaugural committee said the day’s theme will be “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,” the presidential inaugural committee said in a statement.

The inauguration will be held under tight security after Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday in a riot to that left five dead.

Because of coronavirus concerns, Biden’s team had already discouraged supporters from gathering in Washington and is instead urging them to celebrate from home. In place of the traditional parade along Pennsylvania Avenue, Biden, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and their spouses will travel to Arlington National Cemetery to lay the wreath.

There, they will honor “our men and women in uniform who paid the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our common values,” the inaugural committee said.

Biden and Harris will be joined by President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, President George W. Bush and Laura Bush, and President Bill Clinton and Secretary Hillary Clinton.

The inaugural committee also plans a public art exhibit along the National Mall, featuring about 191,500 flags of various sizes, as well as pillars of light representing states and territories.

Trump has said he will not attend Biden’s inauguration, breaking from a long-held U.S. tradition that signals the nation’s peaceful transfer of power.

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