A brief history of Inauguration Day: The significance of 2021's
"This is unique," IU South Bend history professor Jonathan Nashel said. "Even when President Lincoln came to office, there was nothing like this type of security. The last time members of the National Guard were inside the Capitol was during, I think, Lincoln's time, but the level of security now is unmatched."
Nashel said inauguration has happened with heightened security before. When President Barack Obama first took office in 2009, he did so amidst the threat of a terrorist attack and among a higher security presence. Nashel said that security presence was "nothing" like the amount of National Guard troops in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday.
Outgoing President Donald Trump broke with tradition and did not attend President Joe Biden's inauguration ceremony, something Nashel said has happened before.
"Herbert Hoover, for instance, loathed FDR, just absolutely loathed him," Nashel said. "There's a very famous photograph if you can find it of the two of them riding together in the limousine, and they wouldn't even look at each other."
Communication experts said the most significant difference of Wednesday's Inauguration Day versus years' past was who was watching.
"The world is watching," said Ball State telecommunications professor Dom Caristi. "I think there's a great interest around the globe in how this inauguration is happening."
Caristi said the global audience was a result of internet service being more accessible around the world, the tension between President Biden and former President Trump and Vice President Kamala Harris breaking barriers as the first African American woman, the first South Asian woman, and the first woman to hold the office of Vice President of the United States.