Every four years, a president is sworn into office by taking the Presidential oath. While the oath itself is quite short, the inauguration events for modern presidents have become huge, celebratory exhibitions. In addition to being sworn in, the new President generally gives a speech, or an Inaugural Address. There are often parades, parties, and even Meet & Greets in the days following the swearing in of the new President.
Here are some fun Inauguration Day Facts to share with the kids.
- The oath is only 35 words long: I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the constitution of the United States.
- The oath has been taken 71 times by 44 Presidents.
- George Washington was the first President to take the presidential oath on April 30, 1789.
- George Washington’s second inaugural address, given in 1793 was the shortest speech coming in at 135 words.
- Thomas Jefferson was the first and only President to walk to and from his inauguration in 1801.
- William Henry Harrison gave the longest inaugural address, coming in at 10,000 words. He gave his speech outdoors during a snow storm. He died a month later from pneumonia.
- The first known newspaper illustration of an inauguration was of James Polk’s in 1845.
- The first time African Americans participated in an inaugural parade was during Abraham Lincoln’s second inauguration in 1865.
- The first time women participated in the inaugural parade was at Woodrow Wilson’s inauguration in 1917.
- Calvin Coolidge’s 1925 inauguration was the first to be nationally broadcast on the radio.
- Harry Truman’s 1949 inauguration was the first to be televised.
- JFK’s 1961 inauguration was the first with a parade to be televised in color.
- Ronald Reagan’s 1985 inauguration was the first to fall on Superbowl Sunday.
- Famous Poet Robert Frost recited his poem The Gift Outright at JFK’s inauguration.
Famous quotes from Inaugural speeches:
Abraham Lincoln, 1865: “With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1933: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1937: “The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.
John F. Kennedy, 1961: “Ask not what your country can do for you–ask what you can do for your country.”
Lyndon B. Johnson, 1965: “Our destiny in the midst of change will rest on the unchanged character of our people.”
George Washington, 1789: “I was summoned by my country, whose voice I can never hear but with veneration and love.”
Here are some books about Inauguration Day for readers of all ages: