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
The 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 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.
The 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?