Presidential Inauguration Fun Facts

Do you think Secret Service would be cool with someone lassoing President Obama? It happened to one president on his Inauguration Day.

Barack Obama on Monday will be sworn in as the nation's 45th president (*OK, technically he'll be sworn in Sunday, Jan. 20—see note below). Although there is much protocol and tradition that goes along with presidential inaugurations, history shows there's a bit of wiggle room when it comes to things such as fashion and parade behavior.

For instance, did you know ...

  •  John F. Kennedy was the last president to attend his inauguration ceremony in a stovepipe hat.
  • More on hats: As a U.S. Representative, Abraham Lincoln attended the inauguration of President Zachary Taylor—where he lost his hat in the crowd and never recovered it.
  • John Quincy Adams was the first president to wear long trousers to his inauguration ceremony (breaking a tradition of colonial breeches).
  • President Adams also famously refused to attend the swearing-in of his successor—Andrew Jackson—after an epically brutal campaign.
  • During his Inaugural Parade, President Eisenhower was lassoed by a cowboy.

Trivia courtesy of the Presidential Inaugural Committee 2013

What twists to the 57th Presidential Inauguration might we see Monday? A Gangnam Style flash mob on the steps of the Capitol? FLOTUS (First Lady of the United States) sporting a Presidential seal tattoo on those legendary arms?

*[A note about the actual swearing in date: Historically, Inaugural Ceremonies are not held on a Sunday because Courts and other public institutions are not open. This year, in accordance with the requirements of the United States Constitution, President Obama and Vice President Biden will officially be sworn-in on Sunday, January 20, 2013.]

Tell us about your Inaurguration Day plans in the comment section below.

Purvis Granger January 22, 2013 at 05:15 PM
John- your response is a great example of my point. When I said "There is a time and place for different kinds of discourse. You seem to miss the point of both an inauguration and an inaugural address" I wasn't talking about the Patch's terms of use. I was saying that your points aren't pertinent to an inaugural address because they're not. The Patch won't restrict you from missing the point of an article and its subject, and subsequently expressing yourself. That's the beauty of open discourse. You're allowed to take an article about interesting historical facts about inaugurations and use it as a platform to make generalized and unsupported comments about the president in general, all the while disregarding the fact that the inauguration itself is a ceremonial event. And no one can take that away from you.
John B. Greet January 22, 2013 at 05:37 PM
Sorry, Purvis. I happen to believe words mean things. I believe that when any elected official claims he or she will accomplish specific things during his or her upcoming term in office (regardless of the time, venue, or occasion), he or she should either accomplish those things, or explain to the voters why he or she did not. You seem to have a different (and considerably lower) standard for government accountability than I do. I respect your personal preference in this area. Please make a greater attempt to respect mine.
Purvis Granger January 22, 2013 at 07:40 PM
John: That words have meanings goes without saying (there's a joke in there somewhere). Let's divide this into 3 parts. 1.) The story was about historical inaugurations, not the president's first inauguration speech vs his record (which are 2 different things). So, while you are always entitled to express your opinion on the President's record, the article wasn't about that *at all* so your comments were not pertinent to the article itself, hence several comments. 2.) Words also have context. Inaugural speeches are given in the context of an inauguration. If you're married (to a woman), your spouse may have promised to obey you. Presumably you wouldn't hold her to a standard of obedience (maybe you do/would?) on a daily basis. Presidents give broad inspirational inaugural speeches that are meant to communicate a general direction and values 3.) I have a high standard of government accountability. I also understand when not to take everything said in a ceremonial event literally. If you have the energy for benchmarking several decades of presidential inaugural speeches against specific records and outcomes, have at it. You'll certainly be disheartened by the universal disconnect between the two. Finally, while I think you're confusing a disagreement over context for a difference in standards, I don't "disrespect your standards."
John B. Greet January 22, 2013 at 08:19 PM
Purvis: 1) I understand that you dislike that I chose to use the occasion of this article (about inauguration facts) to comment critically about Pres. Obama's comments during his first *inauguration* as compared with the *facts* of his actions and inactions during the years of his administration that followed 2) Because words have meaning, it is clear (from his choice of words) that Pres. Obama was making specific promises about what he would accomplish during his first term in office. He did not accomplish those things. Because he is answerable to the people, he should openly admit that he did not accomplish them and explain why he failed 3) I am not so naive as to suggest that Pres. Obama's failures are to any degree unique. Nor am I to any degree exclusive in my critique. Where former Presidents have failed in this way, they, too, should have openly admitted their failures and explained why they failed. Because I hold previous Presidents to this same standard, I would be remiss to exempt this current President. I think those who seem willing to exempt this President from reasonable and fact-based critique, and who take such exception whenever such critiques are offered, are doing the important cause of government accountability a great disservice. As I feel certain you will have a response, I will gladly cede the final words to you. Thanks for the dialog!
Purvis Granger January 23, 2013 at 02:57 AM
John, leaving aside your other points, and the fact that timing and context are kinda important, even critics disagree with the blanket generalization of your second point. If words have meaning, you haven't mentioned any specific words, your interpretation, or the outcome that you perceive to have deviated from those words. Here's an idea- write a Patch Op-Ed piece on the topic. Obviously you have the energy. Why not? You're obviously not ill-intentioned. The dialogue you want would be much more vibrant folllowing a piece that directly addresses your points.


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