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For Find Out Friday Week 22- Inauguration Day Traditions

For the first time since I can remember I did not watch the inauguration of the new president. I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I have had a pit in my stomach all day trying to wrap my head around the events taking place.  It just feels so unreal and scary but I made all my feelings perfectly clear back in November just after the election ( But this blog post is not about politics it is about tradition.

There are a lot of moving parts on any Inauguration Day, all of which I have always found fascinating. I thought it would be appropriate on this Inauguration Day to focus on the positive and inform us all of some very cool facts that we could all appreciate no matter of party loyalties.

We will begin with the date, January 20th. Inauguration Day originally took place on March 4th during the days of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. They needed time to gather their cabinet and administration and communication took a great deal of time. As time passed and technology improved Presidents no longer needed four months or so to prepare for office. Thus on January 23, 1933 the twentieth amendment passed which established Inauguration Day as January 20th.  For the years when January 20th falls on a Sunday there is a private swearing in ceremony and the public oath of office occurs the very next day.

“Out with almonds, in with Doritos.”

As for the inauguration ceremony itself, the first activity of the day is a morning worship prayer that originated with F.D.R. From there, the procession to the capital begins with the President riding along with the President Elect.

The Vice President Elect takes the oath of office first, although the constitution does not specify the details of the oath. The President Elect of course goes next. Once he is officially sworn into office he and God willingly time some soon she, delivers their inaugural address, the first speech of their presidency. Coincidentally it is only after the new President becomes official that the intense five-hour workout at the White House begins. The process is fascinating but more about that in a minute.

The bittersweet moment final arrives where the now former President and First Lady depart via helicopter off the White House lawn. The new President moves on to a celebratory luncheon that is also at the U.S. Capital, as is the swearing in ceremony.

To work off the lunch there is then the Inaugural Parade, which consists of floats, band, citizen groups, and others since 1841.

Finally comes the part I would be most excited about, the inaugural ball!

For our very first President, George Washington, there was a party a week after he became president. But the very first inaugural ball, as we know it to be, was thrown for James and Dolly Madison in 1809, which was held in Long’s Hotel. However it was President James Buchanan in 1857 who abandoned the notion of several balls in favor of one grand ball. But that did not last long.

President Clinton had a high of fourteen balls and President Obama had ten. There were only a handful of times the inaugural ball(s) were canceled. President Wilson thought it was too expensive and lavish and did away with it. Lesser known President Pierce (number fourteen) canceled the ball because his son had just died. President Carter changed the price of admonition to twenty-five to keep it charitable for those attending.

Allegedly our new Fuhrer will be attending three inaugural balls tonight. But don’t ask me who finally agreed to dress the first couple or who they coaxed into performing.

“Until President John F. Kennedy’s inauguration, there was no formal process for moving a new president into the residence, said White House historian William Seale. John Adams simply left early. Thomas Jefferson stayed in the White House with the Madisons for a month after his term ended. And so many well-wishers swarmed into the White House after Andrew Jackson’s inauguration that the new president sneaked out the back to a hotel.”

Now as for the big move, the permanent White House staff of about one hundred people handles the big task. They are charged with moving the former President out and the current in. They set up everything like they have always lived there. That includes preferences of art, décor, personal items, closets, cosmetics and toiletries, and food. The White House Chef and personal pantry will be stocked with all of the new family’s preferences. F.Y.I. the President must pay for his own groceries.

These changes affect each room of the White House both for the residence and office spaces. Even the bowling alley gets new shoes.

All of this has to be done by the time the family returns home from the parade to get ready for the ball.

The stress of these jobs overwhelms me. But then again I suppose so does the job of the President.

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