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.

Luis January 21, 2013 at 02:37 PM
Congratulations to President Obama but I will not be watching the inauguration.
Laura Tompkins January 21, 2013 at 04:20 PM
I doubt the ceremony and celebration hinges on whether you will be watching Luis, but thanks for the update on your schedule. It's a beautiful day.
Diane Naletich January 21, 2013 at 04:35 PM
I am watching ABC-7 Eyewitness News and checking Twitter & Faceback periodically. Thankful that the weather is cooperating back there.
John B. Greet January 21, 2013 at 04:43 PM
Speeches are all well and good. I'm sure Pres. Obama's supporters will, again, hang on his every word. This President made such a speech once before and almost everything he said *then* has proven or is proving false *now*. Ultimately, it is neither the good intentions nor the speeches that truly matter. What matters are the actions. What matter are the results.
Emily William Malembo January 21, 2013 at 05:55 PM
Congraturstions to Mr.president,its had but you can since you started though not possible to have everything done as planned.well done and wish you all good for the next four years
ROBERT E. FISHBACK January 21, 2013 at 06:02 PM
Right or wrong...liberal or conservitive, I am getting sick of the insults hurled at our President...I do not think he is the enemy of freedom that he is made out to be. He has the difficult task of juggling in order to keep our country working. If you want to bad mouth a President...Bush is appropriate.
met00 January 21, 2013 at 06:55 PM
Where is the darn thumbs up button for comments?! Robert, Obama is far from the man I want the President to be. Being a progressive I am highly disappointed at the two party system that keeps on electing corporatist's to the Oval Office (our choices in the general election being "corporatist center" and "corporatist right"). I long for the days of a choice like Harry S. Truman (D) or Dwight D. Eisenhower (R).
Purvis Granger January 22, 2013 at 01:19 AM
John, it's the inauguration ceremony for a president who was decisively elected. He's supposed to deliver an inspirational speech. A minority of the country won't be inspired. Apparently you're in that minority.
John B. Greet January 22, 2013 at 03:14 AM
Purvis you appear to have missed my point entirely. No worries. Glad some were entertained. Because that's what's important right? That the people be entertained.
Purvis Granger January 22, 2013 at 04:21 AM
The article is about inaugurations. Inaugurations involve speeches and are celebratory. The President gave a speech. Your point, questionable as it was, was not pertinent to the article at hand. Of course it's a celebration. Duh.
Watts January 22, 2013 at 05:08 AM
Actually, I think that he got your point perfectly. You are John B. Greet, a person who, when things do not go his way, will go to any extreme to voice his disapproval. That is what you did and that is what Purvis acknowledged. The reality is that you think that you are right and most Americans (and by far most people on this planet) think that you are wrong. You can't come to grips with that and while Purvise was far more polite about it; those are the points.
John B. Greet January 22, 2013 at 05:45 AM
Hi Watts. I am always amused at your habit of presuming to speak for others such as "most Americans (and by far most people on this planet)." Do you engage in this fraudulent practice because you feel you need to create a false sense of corroboration, or merely because you lack sufficient confidence in your own opinions to speak only for yourself?
John B. Greet January 22, 2013 at 05:55 AM
Speeches have many purposes, Purvis. Generally speaking, when a person of Pres. Obama's standing claims that we "will" do this or that (as he did throughout his first inaugural address), I think folks have a right to expect him to follow through and actually accomplish at least some of the things he claimed he would. When I point out that promises and speeches matter less in this context than one's actions and results, you seem to feel that is questionable. Perhaps you can explain how. This article is about Presidential inaugurations, yet you seem to feel my comments about comments Pres. Obama made during his first inauguration are somehow not pertinent to this article. Perhaps you can explain how.
John B. Greet January 22, 2013 at 03:00 PM
"I am getting sick of the insults hurled at our President" It seems strange to me that some consider pointing out the provable facts of any President's record as somehow "hurling insults." Speeches and promises may appease a good number of people and completely innure them to the very serious challenges in our nation, most of which have worsened, rather than improved, under this President. Still, I think it is more than fair to analyze and, if warranted, critique any President's record, at any time, particularly if that President has made a good deal of direct promises to the people, upon his initial inauguration, that he would make improvements. Despite that I did not vote for Pres. Obama in 2008, after he was elected I listened very closely to his first inaugural speech. I was moved by his words and by the historical significance of his election. I said a silent prayer that he find a way to succeed in effectively addressing our nation's many challenges. In short, I gave him the benefit of the doubt. Unfortunately, he did not succeed. He did not acomplish what he claimed, even though he promised us all that he would. By almost every impirical measure, our nation is worse off now than it was when he first took office. This should not be viewed by some as an insult hurled but, rather, a fact clearly stated.
Purvis Granger January 22, 2013 at 03:11 PM
You know, you're right. Ceremonies are not a time to let absolute and vocal accountability lapse. I think, whether it be a retirement party, a second wedding, or, why not, a funeral, we should abandon the pretense of ceremony and open the event up to literal interpretation. In fact, we should use weddings as an opportunity to discuss fidelity, and we should scrutinize eulogies for accuracy. On a serious note, the speech during the first inauguration, like that given in ever inauguration, was a post election speech meant to inspire the country. The campaign was then, as it is now, over. Go through the text of a dozen or so inaugural speeches. You seem to misunderstand the purpose of an inauguration. But if you wish to hold every president "literally" accountable for aspirational inaugural speeches, the your vitriol will be amortized across every president we've had.
ROBERT E. FISHBACK January 22, 2013 at 03:41 PM
Meet6oo......Me too! It seems to be like a bunch of kids who are friends until half put on blue uniforms and half red uniforms..put them on a field with a ball and they hate each other.I was 12 years old in 52 and I loved everything about that time..especually the music. "See the Pyramids along the Nile, watch the sundrise on a tropic isle vs the sleezy rock of today...What we need is a good King and Queen
John B. Greet January 22, 2013 at 04:05 PM
It's sad that stating simple facts has come to be considered vitriolic. It's likewise sad that some folks refuse to hold this President accountable for his record. Facts and one's record in elected office matter. Because elected officials -at all levels of government- are supposed to be answerable to the people, it is reasonable, at *all* times, to compare an elected official's words (whenever they are spoken) and contrast them with their subsequent record while in office. Given Pres. Obama's record over the past four years, I certainly understand why this very common scrutiny and practice might cause some of his supporters to feel considerable discomfort.
Purvis Granger January 22, 2013 at 04:44 PM
John- 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. To repeat myself, go through the text of a dozen or so inaugural speeches. Everyone should hold elected leadership accountable, but misunderstanding the point of a *ceremonial induction speech* has nothing to do with a platform, campaign promises, or accountability. You do understand that an inauguration is a ceremonial event right? With regard to use of the term vitriol, I think most people on both sides of the aisle would believe that taking a celebratory and aspirational moment and mistreating it as a litany of campaign promises misses the point and indeed is the result of misplaced bile.
ROBERT E. FISHBACK January 22, 2013 at 04:56 PM
Many times, the posters have sent me scrambling for my Merriam Webster. I found a new word am dying to use...It reminds me of reving an engine. The last few posts are above average in expression...nothing JEJUNE about them...Ahhhh
John B. Greet January 22, 2013 at 05:00 PM
"There is a time and place for different kinds of discourse." Gee, Purvis, I must have overlooked those discourse restrictions during my review of the Patch's Terms of Use. Perhaps you should contact Nancy and make sure she adds your personal preferences to those terms so that all Patch participants may be constrained by them.
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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