President Obama’s second inauguration may not be as historic as his first, but still, it will occur on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Jan. 21, and just three weeks after the Emancipation Proclamation’s 150th anniversary.
At the invocation for President Obama’s first inaugural, Dr. Rick Warren invoked Martin Luther King, Jr. and said, “Dr. King and a great crowd of witnesses are shouting in heaven!”
And the shouting will continue at Obama’s second inauguration, the second time that a Presidential inauguration falls on the King holiday.
The first time was President Clinton’s second inauguration in 1997, according to the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies. For the JCCIC’s fascinating firsts, seconds, and other facts about Presidential inaugurations, click here.
President Obama, for the second time, will be sworn in twice: first, on Jan. 20, the constitutionally mandated inauguration date, and again the next day. Jan. 20 falls on Sunday, and when that has happened, public ceremonies have been held on Monday. This will be the seventh Sunday-Monday switch; most recently, President Reagan’s second inauguration in 1985, said the JCCIC.
President Obama was sworn in twice last time because U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts flubbed the oath’s wording — twice. So they had a do-over, and spoke the 35 words correctly the next day at the White House. The new President smiled as he told reporters that he and the Chief Justice had decided to do it again “because it was so much fun.”
For a chronology of other swearing-in ceremonies, with info and images about Bibles, addresses, weather… click here.
President Obama’s Jan. 19-21, 2013 inauguration festivities are expected to attract about 800,000 people, less than half the precedent-setting 1.8 million attendees for Obama’s first inaugural, according to Washington, D.C. city officials.
That was the largest attendance for any U.S. Presidential inauguration, and the largest of any event ever held in Washington.
The much smaller crowd should make for much smoother viewing of the ceremonies (enough said about the 2009 masses of humanity).
Viewing the swearing-in ceremonies from the National Mall does not require tickets, JCCIC said. The non-ticketed area of the National Mall begins at Fourth Street, N.W.
The swearing-in ceremonies will be shown live beginning at 11:30 A.M. at two places along the National Mall: the National Museum of American History’s Flag Hall, Constitution Avenue at 14th Street, N.W., and the National Archives’ William G. McGowan Theater, Constitution Avenue at 9th Street, N.W.
The Archives will show archival films of inaugurations from Presidents Franklin Roosevelt through Bill Clinton on Jan. 16, 17, and 18 at noon. Several of these films will be shown each day, free, in the McGowan Theater.
On to the inaugural parade. (No puns on bring in the clowns.)
The tradition of big, colorful parades, complete with floats, began with President William Henry Harrison’s inauguration in 1841. Log cabin floats represented his “log cabin and hard cider” campaign. One such float was drawn by six white horses.
“The largest parade, with 73 bands, 59 floats, horses, elephants, and civilian and military vehicles, and lasting 4 hours and 32 minutes, occurred in 1953 at President Eisenhower’s first inauguration. Today, the limit is set at 15,000 participants,” JCCIC noted.
The largest amount of inaugural balls was 14, for President Clinton’s second time around.
President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama attended all ten of their official balls in 2009, said JCCIC. They danced also at smaller ones, including the Youth Ball and the Hip-Hop Ball.
Alas, this time ’round, there’re only two official inaugural balls. For info on how to get one or a maximum two of those rare $60 public tickets, sign up here.
There was only one inaugural ball for President James Buchanan in 1857, but what a ball. It had probably the largest menu of any in history: “…400 gallons of oysters, 500 quarts of chicken salad, 1200 quarts of ice cream, 60 saddles of mutton, eight rounds of beef, 75 hams, and 125 tongues,” according to the JCCIC tally.
The first fully racially integrated inauguration, including the ball, did not occur until 1949, thanks to President Harry Truman.
Let’s always have “Faith in America’s Future”, the theme of Obama’s second inauguration, the 57th Presidential inauguration.
For more info: Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, www.inaugural.senate.gov. Presidential Inaugural Committee 2013, www.2013pic.org. Additional info: “Presidential Inaugurations” (Harcourt, Inc.), “Presidential Anecdotes” (Oxford University Press), and “Essays on the Presidents: Principles and Politics” (TCU Press) by Paul F. Boller Jr., former Texas Christian University history professor.