The presidential election is now behind us, and there are just over two months until the ceremonies marking the 57th Presidential Inauguration. In January 2013, for the second time, our country will celebrate a four-year term in the White House for President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.
We have received many questions from our Inaugural Scholars in regard to who plans the Inauguration, who chooses the day on which it is held, etc. Here is some helpful information, as well as some interesting and fun trivia questions about the Inauguration:
Who plans the Presidential Inauguration?
The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies (JCCIC) manages all Inauguration Day activities at the U.S. Capitol Building, including the swearing-in ceremony of the President and Vice President and the traditional luncheon that follow the ceremony with the President, Vice President, JCCIC members, and special guests. The JCCIC comprises the Senate Majority Leader (at the time of appointment), the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the Majority and Minority Leaders of the House of Representatives.
Why is the upcoming Inauguration Day being held on January 21?
The 20th Amendment to the Constitution changed the beginning of a presidential term from March 4 to January 20, requiring that the President and Vice President be sworn in on that day. When January 20 falls on a Sunday, which will occur for the seventh time this January, precedent determines that a private swearing-in ceremony be held for the President and Vice President on Sunday to fulfill the requirements of the Constitution. A public ceremony is then held on the National Mall on Monday, January 21. January 21 is also a national holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King.
The Presidential Oath of Office (Article II, Section 1, United States Constitution):
“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) 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 Vice Presidential Oath of Office (Also recited by Senators, Representatives and other government officials):
“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.”
Inaugural Trivia Questions (See answers below):
- Who was the first U.S. President not born a British subject?
- Who was the first and only U.S. President to take the oath of office on an airplane and why?
- Which U.S. President’s inauguration was the first ceremony broadcast live over the Internet?
- Which U.S. President was sworn-in on the warmest Inauguration Day on record (55°F)?
- Which U.S. President was sworn-in on the coldest Inauguration Day on record (7°F)?
- Who was the first unelected Vice President to be sworn-in as President, and how did that occur?
- Who was the first U.S. President to wear long trousers, rather than knee breeches, at his Inauguration?
- Which U.S. President gave the shortest Inaugural address, which contained just 135 words?
ANSWERS: 1. Martin Van Buren. 2. Lyndon Baines Johnson, as he flew back from Dallas, Texas following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. 3. William J. Clinton. 4. Ronald Reagan’s 1st Inauguration. 5. Ronald Reagan’s 2nd Inauguration. Due to extreme cold, the ceremony was performed inside in the Capitol Rotunda. 6. Gerald R. Ford. Ford was appointed Vice President by Richard Nixon when Spiro Agnew resigned and was then sworn in as President when Nixon resigned over the Watergate cover-up. 7. John Quincy Adams. 8. George Washington, at this 2nd Inauguration.
See these links for more information on the 2013 Inaugural Committee and for interesting inaugural facts and firsts: