Today, January 20, 2021, Joe Biden will be sworn in as the 46th president of the United States.
Since 1789, there have been 58 scheduled public inaugurations. While the purpose of the day is the same - to swear in the president, there have been many variations over the years in how the ceremony is executed. Changes have been made over time and per the individual.
Our friends at Mental Floss shared fun facts in a recent piece:
Inaugurations used to happen on March 4, until the 20th amendment was ratified. Franklin D. Roosevelt was the first president to be inaugurated on the new date, January 20.
Thomas Jefferson walked to and from his first inauguration an act of what he called “Republican simplicity,” an intentional about face compared with predecessors.
The first inaugural ball was hosted by James Madison in 1809 and tickets were $4 each (according to Fortune tickets in 2016 ranged from $60 - $500).
In 1965 Lady Bird Johnson was the first FLOTUS to have a role in the ceremony.
William Henry Harrison gave the longest inauguration speech on record – it was nearly 2 hours long! He passed away 1 month into his presidency.
Richard Nixon worried about pigeons negatively impacting the parade route. Trees along the route were treated with “Roost No More,” to get the birds to fly off. While the chemical was to make their feet itch, they unfortunately ingested it. So instead of a parade route possibly being marred by pigeon poop, it was littered with dead pigeons.
Looking for more fun facts? You can find more in the full article: 35 Fascinating Facts About Presidential Inaugurations Past.
Inaugural activities will begin around 11:30 ET, with Joe Biden being sworn in as the 46th president around 12:01 pm ET. Constitution Daily shared additional inauguration facts as well as the oaths that will be taken:
"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."
(Every president since Herbert Hoover has added “So help me God” at the end of the oath)
“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.”