“I Do Solemnly Swear…”

barack-obamaHistory is being made today. Our country has elected the first black president and he takes office on this memorable day.

Barack Obama will become our 44th president of the United States. His name will forever be set in history books.

Over the course of time, there have been quite a few presidential firsts. Here are just a few:

  • The very first inauguration was George Washington’s and was held on the balcony of Federal Hall in New York City.  
  • 1st to be sworn in at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. was Thomas Jefferson  
  • 1st president to march down Pennsylvania Avenue following inauguration – T. Jefferson 
  • 1st inauguration to be photographed – James Buchanan
  • 1st to be recorded with a motion picture camera – William McKinley 
  • 1st to be broadcast nationally by radio – Calvin Coolidge 
  • 1st to be televised – Harry Truman 
  • 1st and only president to be sworn in aboard Air Force One – Lyndon Johnson
  • 1st to be broadcast live on the Internet – Bill Clinton


george-washingtonThe shortest speech (a mere 135 words) was delivered by George Washington at his second inauguration.


The longest speech (at 8,445 words) was by William Harrison in 1841. It lasted 2 hours and was given in freezing weather. Harrison wore no coat, hat, or gloves. He took ill shortly after with pneumonia and died a month later. His was the shortest presidency on record, by the way.


Ulysses S. Grant’s 1873 inaugural was the coldest on record when inauguration was held in March instead of January. The morning temperature was 4 degrees F. with a wind chill of -30 degrees F. The wind blew at 40 mph and froze band instruments. The temperature stands to this day as being the coldest on record for Washington D.C.

ronald-reaganRonald Reagan holds the distinction of being both the coldest for January and also the warmest. His 1981 inauguration was warmest at 55 degrees F. His 1985 inauguration was the coldest for January 20th at 7 degrees with a wind chill of -20 degrees F. It was so cold his public swearing in ceremony had to be moved indoors to the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol and there was no customary march down Pennsylvania Avenue.

At George W. Bush’s 2001 inauguration, he asked to use the Masonic Bible that George Washington used. The Bible was transported under guard from New York to Washington D.C. but the rainy cold weather prevented him from using it. A family Bible was substituted instead.

Following the tradition of several other presidents, Barack Obama rode into Washington D.C. on a train. It’s said that he’s requested Abraham Lincoln’s Bible for the swearing-in ceremony. In fact, there have many comparisons to that great president. I think Obama does indeed share the humble spirit of Lincoln. The days ahead will show if he has the wisdom.

I don’t know about you, but I’m excited to be a part of this very historical occasion. I’m very proud of our country for stepping beyond the stigmas and racial discrimination that has long held us back. Since its creation, the country as a whole has grown by leaps and bounds. Years from now, I can look back and say that I witnessed this bit of history.

I do think this is one of our finest moments as a nation and a people.

linda-sig.jpgThe United States faces grim challenges and it’ll take an awfully strong president to get us on the right track. I put my faith and trust in President Obama. Each of us need to rally behind him because it’s going to take us all working together to fix the problems. I know we can do it. We can do anything we have to. All we have to do is roll up our sleeves and get to work on our little corner of the world. When we all pull together, there’s nothing we can’t accomplish. Unity is the key. Put aside our differences and help row this country across the rough water.

Not only is he our hope for a promising future, but I feel he’s the world’s hope as well.

What about you? Are you hopeful for changes that will improve this country? Or are you cynical and pessimistic?

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Here in the Texas Panhandle, we do love our cowboys. There's just something about a man in a Stetson and jeans that makes my heart beat faster. I'm not much of a cook but I love to do genealogy and I'm a bit of a rock hound. I'm also a NY Times & USA Today bestselling author of historical western romance. You can contact me through my website and I'd love to connect with you on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and more. HAPPY READING!

25 thoughts on ““I Do Solemnly Swear…””

  1. I’m hopeful and excited about it, too. It’s an amazing moment in history that I wasn’t sure I would ever see. It gives me hope for our future- my children’s future- that we are transcending the lines that only 50-60 years ago divided us as a country and I will never forget how I felt or how I cried the moment they announced Barack Obama would be our new President. It was such a pivotal shift in history it overwhelmed me with emotion.

    I’m teared up just thinking about it because it fills me with a sense of pride to think that we have stepped beyond those stigmas and discrimination.

    Sure, there’s still those who do have racial opinions who may not agree, but the majority spoke and made it clear that they looked beyond the color of his skin and saw the thread of hope he offers all of us to get our country back on the right track.

  2. Nice post Linda-love the lists of 1sts!

    I am very hopeful and very excited as well! I think that Barack Obama has some very good ideas! I think he can bring many good things to office!

    I am happy to be able to witness such a historical event…I have my TV on as I type this out…waiting to watch him take office!

  3. Well, he’s in there, the people have spoken. Now I believe it’s time for all to stand together – whether you voted him in or not- stand together and in the VERY least, pray and support our new president.

    Frankly I think he has some great ideas and if given the opportunity and support, will make great improvements in uniting our country.

    Again the key words are “opportunity and support” because the President is only as strong as Congress allows him to be.


  4. Thanks for a timely blog, Linda. I am thrilled and full of hope, but what a huge mountain of challenges our new president will face. It will take all of us, working together, to bring change to our country and hopefully the world.

  5. Hi Taryn!

    Yes, I think we have hope for the first time in a long time. Obama has instilled that in us. Our country desperately needed change. I think Washington become stagnated by old ideas and old ways. We needed something fresh. We needed a new beginning. I think this is a very good thing for America.

    I, too, tear up when I think of how far we’ve come as a nation. I’m just so proud of us.

    I’m watching the T.V. also as I wait for this historic moment. Wouldn’t miss it! Hope you have a wonderful day.

  6. Hi Melissa!

    Yeah, I can hardly tear myself away from the TV so I can answer these comments. I’m so excited. I’ll be able to tell my grandchildren and great grandchildren (if I have them) that I witnessed this moment. What a great day! I’m so hopeful for a new fresh beginning.

    And you have a wonderful opportunity to teach your two girls that anyone can accomplish their dreams if they want it bad enough. It’s a chance to teach them about history.

    Keep your eyes glued to the TV. I can’t wait to hear Obama’s speech! I think it’ll definitely be one to remember.

    Have a great day, my friend!

  7. hI, i had trouble getting to the comments section. I wonder if anyone else did.

    I’m at work so, as far as watching, history is going to have to pass me by today, but I’m sure I’ll hear all about it.

  8. Hi Pam!

    You’re absolutely right. Whether Obama was your first choice for president, it’s time to put aside our differences and stand together as one nation under God. Our country needs unity again. I totally stood behind President Bush, no matter that I didn’t always agree with his policies, and supported him. We owe our president our loyalty I think.

    Well, it’s about time for the ceremonies to start so I’ve got to go. You have a wonderful day!

  9. Hi Elizabeth,

    Isn’t it exciting to be a part of history? I’m so thrilled to witness this moment. In history there are memorable times that are imbedded in our brains. This is one of them. I know I’ll not forget this day.

    Wishing you all the best! 🙂

  10. I’m so thrilled, and thrilled to *be* thrilled, after being cynical and uncaring for so long. I know I will inevitably be disappointed in some ways in the future, but nothing can take away from the amazing thing that happened today.

  11. Hi Willaful!

    I’m with you, girl! My heart is so full of pride. When I looked at that huge crowd of people that stretched for what looked like miles, standing there in the cold for hours, made me really, really proud to be an American. We live in the greatest country in the world. And to see the peaceable transition of power just brings a lump in my throat. It’s amazing.

    Like you, I know we’ll have times of disagreement and maybe some disappointment in the days ahead but that’s to be expected. We’re not going to agree with our leader all the time. But it won’t take away from this historical moment.

  12. Hi All,
    Just watched the Obama speech on my computer. WOW! Even though I am white, I have waited for this for a long time. The man is incredable and an orator. I was amazed by the amount of people,too. I sat and listened to every word with tears. It was great. Now we can begin to heal our Nation. This was a moment to make my heart swell and be very proud to be an American.

  13. Hi Mary J,

    I have such a sense of pride that our nation can rise up and begin to straighten out our problems. I feel the promise of a great country becoming even greater. I think we’re standing at a crossroads. Where we go from here is anyone’s guess. I trust and have faith in my president to lead us in the right direction.

    God Bless America!

  14. Hi Linda, loved the facts. I am a fact-nut. I was vastly impressed by the 135-word speech of President Washington.

    I too finally tore myself away from the TV to…clean the bathrooms but before I do that, I must visit the Junction. I think Obama is a class act, gracious and inspiring. He has a tremendous job ahead of him and deserves everyone’s respect and patience! It’s not gonna get fixed in a day.

    Oh, and I just loved Aretha. Isn’t she grand?

    God bless America indeed!

  15. Hi Tanya,

    Oh yes, Aretha Franklin was one of the highlights of the day! She’s an amazing singer. It’s hard to believe that I listened to her as a teenager and now she’s still going strong. Her voice just gets better and better. There have been so many memorable moments throughout the day.

    And wasn’t Michelle just gorgeous? Loved her dress!

  16. so-Savanna told me they got to eat lunch in their class and watch President Obama be sworn in! YAY..that’s awesome!

    I think it’s great that this is such a celebrated event in history!

  17. I watched his speech, too. I think this is the first time they showed, if not all of it, but at least most of the ceremony on TV around here, instead of just that “I do solemnly swear” part we usually see on the news when you guys get a new president.

  18. Melissa,

    It’s wonderful that Savanna got to watch the swearing-in ceremony today! I think she’ll always remember this and will tell the story to her children one day. What a day for America! 🙂

  19. Hi Minna,

    Thank you for posting a comment today. It’s always nice to see what people in other countries think of our political process. It’s wonderful that they showed the inauguration on your TV. But honestly, I think the whole world is excited and intrigued with our new president. I’m glad Obama’s speech is being shown around the world. I’m very hopeful that we can all come together and work for the common good.

  20. Wonderful post. It reminds me of when Kennedy was elected – so much hope. If anyone can help us I do believe Barak Obama is the one!

  21. Hi Linda! What a great blog filled with fun facts! I’ve been watching the ceremonies on and off between writing today–mesmerized by it all and very hopeful for the future! If anyone can make a difference and handle the challenges, it sure seems like Barack can! 🙂

  22. P.S. My daughter’s school here in Toronto had the ceremony on their cafeteria TV screen, so they watched it during their lunch, too! He’s being celebrated in many countries!

  23. Wow—awesome facts, Linda!!! I’m thinking there’s a lesson to be learned in keeping an accpetence speech short with President Harrison–YIPES! I had never heard that. Speeches and the weather can be a fatel thing—Our 12th President, Taylor, suffered heat stroke after 4th of July festivities.

    As for optimism and cynicism, I’m probably an equal balance, mostly because we’ve been under democaratic rule in the HOR for the past few years and I’ve not been impressed–but now that we have a decomocratic president perhaps they can untangle the economic mess they’ve woven? I’m HOPEFUL 🙂

    My youngest was able to watch the inauguration, but my oldest had math classes this morning so he was disappointed to miss it.

    Loved this post, Linda 😀

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