Inaugurations, past and present
Snow storms, television cameras, record-breaking security measures – these are just a few details that made each inauguration of a U.S. President unique and memorable.
Here’s a look at some of those historic events and how they shaped one of the most important ceremonies celebrated by Americans since the birth of our country.
1789: George Washington
• Washington was sworn in at Federal Hall in New York City as the first president of the United States. There was no official inaugural ball that day, but one was held a week later to honor Washington.
1841: William H. Harrison
• Despite a major snowstorm, Harrison did not wear a coat during the longest Inaugural Address on record. Just weeks later, he died of pneumonia.
1865: Abraham Lincoln
•During Lincoln’s second inauguration, African Americans participated in the Inaugural Parade for the very first time.
1897: William McKinley
• McKinley’s inauguration was the first to be recorded on film by a movie camera.
1921: Warren G. Harding
• Harding was the first President to ride to an inauguration in an automobile. The vehicle drove President Wilson and President-Elect Harding to the Capitol.
1925: Calvin Coolidge
• Coolidge’s inauguration was the first to be broadcast by radio. As president, he continued to make regular radio addresses to the country.
1937: Franklin D. Roosevelt
• In 1937, Roosevelt was the first president inaugurated on January 20th due to a change made by the 20th Amendment. Previous inaugurations were held in March.
• In 1941, he was the first and only president to take the oath of office for a third term.
• In 1945 during his fourth inauguration, Roosevelt held a simple ceremony at the White House because of World War II.
1961: John F. Kennedy
• JFK’s inauguration parade was the first to be broadcast in color for television.
1963: Lyndon B. Johnson
• Johnson took the oath of office on Air Force One in Dallas after President Kennedy was assassinated.
1985: Ronald Reagan
• With temperatures hovering around zero, Reagan’s second inauguration was held indoors and the parade was cancelled.
1997: Bill Clinton
• President Clinton’s inauguration was the first one to be broadcast over the internet.
2005: George W. Bush
• The first inauguration since the September 11th terrorist attacks, President Bush’s inauguration had the tightest security of any other one on record.
2009: Barrack Obama
• As the first African American to hold the office, more people attended President Obama’s inauguration than any other event in D.C.
Information sourced from National Geographic, Wikipedia, PBS and The National Weather Service.
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