Few people, thousands of flags, massive security: Surreal photos of Washington D.C. before inauguration

On the eve of the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, Washington, D.C. is eerily quiet, a stark contrast to the large crowds and celebratory atmosphere of previous inaugurations.

Tickets to the swearing-in ceremony will be limited and a televised virtual parade will replace the traditional parade down Pennsylvania Avenue.

In lieu of massive crowds, a public art exhibition was erected on the National Mall to represent the American people who are unable to travel to the capitol for the inauguration, according to the inaugural committee. 

Inauguration Day photos:Images capture the mood at the Capitol as Joe Biden becomes president

Biden's inauguration plans were already scaled-down because of the coronavirus pandemic. But after the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, thousands of National Guard troops established a massive security presence.

More:Nearly 200,000 state and territory flags planted on the National Mall for the inauguration

Bridges into Washington closed Tuesday morning and are scheduled to reopen Thursday, according the Secret Service. More than a dozen Metro stations will be closed through Thursday, according to an inauguration planning website from D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser.

'Field of Flags' replaces crowds of people

The “Field of Flags” exhibit includes 191,500 U.S. flags of varying sizes, including flags representing every state and territory and 56 pillars of light.

The inaugural committee said the display signified a “commitment to an inclusive and safe event that everyone can enjoy from their home.”

The "Field of Flags" is illuminated on the National Mall as the US Capitol Building is prepared for the inauguration ceremonies for President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on Jan. 18, 2021 in Washington, DC.  Approximately 191,500 US flags will cover part of the National Mall and will represent the American people who are unable to travel to Washington, DC for the inauguration.
Thousands of flags creating a "Field of Flags" are seen on the National Mall.
The National Mall is filled with a "Field of Flags" for the 59th Inaugural Ceremonies.

More than 25,000 National Guard troops  are involved in inaugural security

The FBI has warned of possible armed protests at the U.S. Capitol and state capitol buildings Wednesday by supporters of outgoing President Donald Trump, who falsely believe he won the election.

More than 25,000 Guard members are involved in inaugural security and much of downtown Washington has been fenced off.

Although the massive security presence succeeded in keeping violent protesters away on Sunday, the FBI is taking extra precautions by vetting all of the National Guard troops coming in for the inauguration. 

National Guard troops stand guard along the Capitol complex on Monday. Security preparations continue around the Nation's Capitol in preparation for the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
Members of the National Guard conduct a patrol around the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 18, 2021.
National Guard troops from Pennsylvania march up 14th Street in downtown Washington, DC on Jan. 18, 2021.
Members of the military drill outside The White House as security preparations continue around The White House and Lafayette Park in preparation for the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.

National Mall closed through Sunday

The National Park Service announced Friday that the National Mall will be closed through Sunday except for inauguration and permitted free speech events.

The Park Service said areas near the U.S. Navy Memorial and John Marshall Park, off the main stretch of the Mall, will be designated locations for existing permit holders.

The area, which stretches over 2 miles from the Lincoln Memorial to the U.S. Capitol, is typically packed with tourists.

Security around the National Mall is heightened ahead of inauguration Day on Jan. 13, 2021, in Washington..
Independence Avenue is blocked to traffic all along the National Mall, as seen from by the U.S. Capitol, Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021, in Washington, as security is increased ahead of the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
Pennsylvania Ave., leading to the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. was empty Sunday night, Jan 17, 2021. The nation's capital was on high-alert with heightened security against threats to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration  following the deadly pro-Trump insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

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