Today is Inauguration Day. The 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump, took the oath of office and immediately assumed the responsibility as leader of this great, but sorely divided nation. The transition of leadership is complete. The Obama years are officially over and the Trump years have just begun. It’s a moment in history. Trump asked 50 of Obama’s staff members to stay on for continuity. The next 4 years are expected to be quite different than the last 4 years. Our future lies ahead. What it will bring is full of unknowns. There are serious issues our nation faces, both at home and abroad. Policy change is indeed in the air. There’s a new world order. Power is shifting around the globe. Many Post-War norms are reversing. The 21st century is a different place. Change is hard. Change keeps coming. That’s the way of the world.
Presidential inaugurations haven’t always been on January 20th, nor in Washington. George Washington was the only President to be unanimously voted into office. He was sworn-in on a clear and cool day from the balcony of the Federal Hall in on Wall Street in New York on April 30, 1789. That was the location of the first Congress. George Washington was 57 years old when he became President. Washington was unanimously voted in for a second term. It was Washington who set the precedent of a 2-term limit for the Presidency to eliminate potential abuses of power. He was the only President not to occupy the White House. He lived in New York City at first before relocating the Presidential House to Philadelphia. His second inaugural address was the shortest in American history. It lasted less than 2 minutes.
Here are some other facts about Inauguration Day:
William Henry Harrison had the longest inaugural address. He spoke for about 1 hour and 45 minutes on March 4, 1841.
Teddy Roosevelt did not use a bible when he was sworn into office on September 14, 1901.
Franklin D. Roosevelt was the first President to have his inauguration ceremony on Jan. 20 in 1937. He also had 4 terms.
Donald Trump is the oldest President to be inaugurated at age 70. Ronald Reagan previously held that distinction at age 69. Teddy Roosevelt was the youngest President at inauguration. He was 42 years old. John F. Kennedy was second youngest at age 43.
The only parade known to have been canceled because of the weather was Reagan’s second in 1985. It was the coldest Inauguration Day ever, at 7 degrees. Perhaps that speaks to the times changing. 76 years earlier, there was a blizzard for William Howard Taft’s inauguration. The parade route had to be shoveled to remove the snow. But the parade went on.
John F. Kennedy gave one of the most memorable inauguration speeches in 1961 when he said: “And so, my fellow Americans: Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.” These words still resonate with us 56 years later.
Our great nation has been through substantial challenges since the beginning. Opportunities always present themselves for improvements and better ways, which lead to better days.
Have a nice weekend. God Bless America.