Key Moments in Presidential Inaugurations: Washington to Obama Compiled by Jahed Ahmed
- In 1789, George Washington became the first and only president of the United States elected unanimously by the Electoral College. On March 4, 1793, Washington delivered the shortest address in inaugural history at just 133 words.
- During president Andrew Jackson’s inauguration in 1829, the White House became so crowded that Jackson had to be rescued by his friends when well-wishers pinned him against a wall. The crowd departed only when Jackson’s steward placed large tubs of whiskey punch on the lawn.
- In 1865, at the inauguration of Abraham Lincoln’s second term as the president, African Americans participated in the Inaugural parade for the first time.
- At the same time in 1865, following a bout of typhoid, Vice President Andrew Johnson consumed a few drinks before the inaugural ceremonies in an effort to feel better. But by the time Johnson delivered his speech, he was intoxicated and incoherent. One senator called Johnson’s performance “the most unfortunate thing that has occurred in our history.”
- In 1917, at the inauguration ceremony before his second term, president Woodrow Wilson’s inauguration was the first time the first lady accompanied the president to and from the Capitol and the first time women participated in the Inaugural parade.
- President Harry S. Truman’s inaugural speech in 1949 was the first televised Inauguration ceremony in history.
- In 1961, at 43, John F. Kennedy was the second-youngest president-elect in U.S. history and the first Catholic to become elected President. Robert Frost was the first poet invited to speak during an inauguration ceremony. When Frost reached the podium, he was blinded by the sun’s glare and unable to read his prepared remarks. In vain, Vice President Lyndon Johnson attempted to shield Frost’s eyes with his top hat. As a last resort, Frost recited a poem from memory and dedicated it to “the president-elect, Mr. John Finley.” Pictured here is Kennedy chatting with Frost in the green room of the White House.
- In 1969, Richard Nixon became the 37th president of the United States and was greeted with less than warm feelings from the crowds. Protestors threw smoke bombs, sticks and stones at the presidential limo on its way to the Capitol Building. Four years later, anti-Vietnam sentiment drove 25,000 to 100,000 protestors to line the parade route, forcing troops to be stationed every 10 feet along the roads
- President Jimmy Carter’s inauguration was truly green. Instead of driving down Pennsylvania Avenue, the new first family opted for a 40-minute stroll from the Capitol Building to its new residence. His inauguration is also the first to have accessible viewing for those with disabilities.
- As the 40th president, Ronald Reagan’s two inaugurations took place during record temperatures. His first, held in 55-degree temperatures, was the warmest inauguration. It was the complete opposite in 1985, when temperatures hovered around 7 degrees.
- When George Bush Sr. took office in 1989; it was 200 years after Washington became the first president. Bush used the same Bible that Washington had famously kissed after taking the Oath of Office.
· The inauguration for Clinton’s second term, in 1997, was first Inaugural ceremony broadcast live on the Internet.
- During Bush’s inaugural oath in 2001, he was interrupted by two protestors who managed to get around the security checkpoints. When they stripped naked 20 yards away from Bush, the words “No Mandate” and “Hail to the Thief” could be seen written across their bodies.
Today Barack Obama is being sworn in as the America’s 44th president on Lincoln’s bible of 1865 and then would take part in a luncheon that has a menu featuring some of Lincoln’s favorite dishes. 01.20.2009 New York Source: http://abcnews.go.com/