It’s Inauguration Day in West Virginia

By DANIEL TYSON

The Register-Herald

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — At 1 p.m. today, Jim Justice will publicly be sworn in as the 36th governor of West Virginia.

But 13 hours prior, at midnight, Justice will take the oath of office during a small, private ceremony at The Greenbrier Chapel surrounded by family and friends, including Raleigh County Circuit Judge John A. Hutchison and family religious advisor Rev. Greg Scott. Justice will take the oath publicly on the Kanawha River side of the State Capitol.

The public event will be steeped in military and tradition. In addition to the traditional 19-gun salute, spectators will watch the posting of the colors by military and law enforcement.

Also slated is the oath of office for Mac Warner as secretary of state, Patrick Morrisey as attorney general, John Perdue as treasurer, J.B. McCuskey as auditor and Ken Leonhardt as commissioner of agriculture. Supreme Court Justice Beth Walker will take a ceremonial oath.

Organizers said they aimed to make the event personal with special touches to celebrate West Virginia. The theme of the inauguration is “It’s West Virginia’s Time.”

One of those personal touches is a group of Greenbrier County elementary school students who will lead the Pledge of Allegiance during the inauguration.

The ceremony is free and open to the public. Seating will be available on South Plaza. Umbrellas aren’t allowed on the South Plaza, and large bags and coolers are subject to search.

Public parking will be available at the Capitol in the parking garage on Greenbrier Street and at the parking lot beside Laidley Field. A shuttle will be available between Laidley and the Capitol. Kanawha Boulevard will be closed from Greenbrier Street to California Street.

After the swearing-in ceremony, Gov. Justice, the first lady and other elected officials will receive visitors and sign commemorative programs for well-wishers in the Capitol’s Lower Rotunda.

Those planning to attend the receiving line will need to enter the Lower Rotunda through the security checkpoint on the California Avenue side of the Capitol. Large bags will be subject to search.

In the Lower Rotunda a number of live events will showcase the talent of West Virginia, including songs from the Appalachian Children’s Chorus, The West Virginia Youth Symphony Cadet String Ensemble, Unaccompanied Minors and the Martin Luther King Jr. Male Chorus.

West Virginia Public Broadcasting is slated to carry the inaugural ceremonies live via online, television and radio beginning at 12:45 p.m.

Meanwhile, starting at noon and ending at 2 p.m. in The Greenbrier’s McKinley Room, an Inaugural Ceremony Watch is slated, so people can watch the swearing-in without being outside in the cold. The event is sponsored by Orion Strategies.

During the day, Justice plans to attend a reception at the State Capitol to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

In the evening, The Greenbrier is also the site of the Inaugural Ball. Events start around 7:30 p.m., wrapping up around 3 a.m. Tuesday.

Several West Virginia artists are slated to perform, including Landau Eugene Murphy Jr., Walter Scott Trio, The West Virginia Jazz Orchestra, River Jam and Richard Hefner and the Black Mountain Bluegrass Boys.

A ticket for the ball is $75.

“It’s West Virginia’s time to really shine,” said Dr. Jill Justice, co-chair of the inaugural committee.

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