Move over, Martin Luther King Jr. — the annual national day of service honoring the late civil-right leader falls this year on President Obama’s inauguration.
The nation still will observe the federal holiday commemorating King on Monday, but the White House wants people instead to think about taking part in King observances on Saturday so as not to compete with the president’s big day.
“This year, MLK Day commemorations will coincide with the Presidential Inauguration, so the President is asking all citizens to join him in participating in a National Day of Service on Saturday,” the White House said on its website.
And the Presidential Inaugural Committee is providing people with a list of National Day of Service events in their area, many of which fall on Saturday. For example, residents of Northern Virginia can take part in a fundraising and food collection event for the Arlington Food Assistance Center at a concert 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the State Theater in Falls Church.
The inaugural committee also announced Monday the first-ever smartphone app to inform people about official inaugural events. It encourages users to serve their communities and also provides useful information about Inauguration Day, such as viewing screen locations and the sites of portable toilets.
“This inauguration is a celebration of the American people,” said Steve Kerrigan, president and CEO of the PIC. “That’s why we’ve designed our app to make sure folks across this country don’t miss a moment of history. Whether you’re in Washington or any other part of the nation, there are plenty of ways to be involved in the inauguration through this app.”
The White House said Mr. Obama is “deeply committed” to engaging more Americans in national service, noting that he expanded AmeriCorps in 2009, among other actions.
Mr. Obama’s official swearing-in will take place privately on Sunday, the date mandated by the Constitution. But the larger public ceremony is being held on Monday because most public institutions are closed on Sundays.