|marched in the parade lost consciousness and suffered frostbite.
President Woodrow Wilson was the last to ride to his inauguration in a horse and carriage. Life was getting faster even back then. It was Warren G. Harding who first used an automobile to travel to the oath ceremony, it was a Pierce-Arrow touring car and the year was 1920.
Franklin Roosevelt’s four inaugurals set many records. His first in 1933 was the last held in the month of March. After that, Congress changed the ceremony to January. Roosevelt’s second was in 1937, but his next in 1941 was the only time a third inaugural was held in American history. Chief Justice Hughes, administered the oath of office, reportedly saying to the president, “This is becoming monotonous Franklin.” FDR’s last inauguration in January of 1945 was held on the lower south portico of the White House due to wartime conditions.
President Harry Truman, in 1949, was the first to lead an inaugural parade. In 1953 cowboy Monty Montana, riding on horseback, rode up to the White House Reviewing Platform and lassoed President Dwight D. Eisenhower, thus prompting more stringent security measures by the Secret Service. Ike’s was the longest inaugural parade, running five hours as compared to today’s standard two hours.
President John F. Kennedy’s inaugural parade in 1961 took place despite a heavy snow storm the day before. It came off thanks to thousands of military personnel who were up all night clearing the snow.
President Jimmy Carter astounded the nation by walking down Pennsylvania Avenue with his family during his 1977 inaugural parade. This was also the first time special provisions were made for the physically disabled to watch the parade.
In 1981 President Ronald Reagan was the first to hold his inaugural on the west side, or Mall side of the Capitol. In 1985, due to below-zero wind chills, he was sworn in inside the Capitol dome with a capacity of only 1,000 guests meaning 25,000 ticket-holders could not attend. No parade was held.
President Bill Clinton and family arrived in Washington, D.C., in 1993 from Monticello, recreating President Thomas Jefferson’s route to Washington.
Each inauguration has touches that show the chosen inaugural theme of the elected president. As Inauguration 2005 unfolds, President George W. Bush has made it clear by his choice of the theme “Celebrating Freedom, Honoring Services,” that tribute is due for members of the Armed Forces as well as those who toil as first responders and public servants across the nation…and beyond.