On January 29th, my monthly tea presentation at Shore Pointe Assisted Living will be about Presidential Inaugurations, so I was sitting in front of my TV shortly after 11:00 a.m. on Friday morning, January 20th, ready to watch the inauguration of Donald J. Trump as he took the oath to become the 45th President of the United States of America. The actual ceremony began at 12:00 noon, so my cup of tea, pen, paper, and camera were beside me in readiness.
In 1981 Ronald Reagan, 40th U.S. President, said presidential inaugurations are both commonplace and miraculous. Commonplace because they've routinely occurred every four years in our country for almost two centuries, and miraculous because of the orderly and peaceful transfer of power called for in our Constitution. Most Americans take it for granted, but in the eyes of many around the world, it's nothing less than a miracle. With that in mind, the theme of this 58th inaugural ceremony was "Uniquely American".
The inauguration isn't about Democrats or Republicans, it's about America, and I would have watched this inauguration with pride regardless of which candidate won the election. It's a celebration of our country's great democracy, and patriotic respect for the Office. Sadly, not all Americans have respect for life or the Presidential Office, since four U.S. Presidents have been assassinated, and unsuccessful plots and attempts have been made on the lives of 14 others.
The Mormon Tabernacle choir [below], dubbed "America's Choir" by Ronald Reagan, gave their sixth inauguration performance by singing America the Beautiful accompanied by the Marine Band.
In Abraham Lincoln's second inaugural address [16th President] he sought to bring unity to our divided nation with the words, "...with malice toward none and charity for all...", appropriate words to embrace in 2017 as well.
Hatred, intolerance, refusal to accept the outcome of the election, fake news reports, and rioting will never bring our country together. The Bible commands Christians [I Timothy 2:1-2] to pray and make intercession for those in authority over us, so I pledge to pray for President Trump, just as I prayed for President Obama. Regardless of personal preferences, it's hard to dislike someone while praying for them, and prayer truly does change things - if not the person being prayed for, then our attitude towards them.
President Trump's inaugural speech was just under 20 minutes. George Washington's second inaugural address [1st President of the U.S.] was the shortest in history with only 130 words.
The longest inaugural speech was given by William Henry Harrison, 9th President of the United States. It was 8,445 words and took an hour and 45 minutes to deliver. President Harrison developed pneumonia after delivering it in a snowstorm and died shortly after taking office, leaving vice-president, John Tyler, to take over.
The most memorable line from an inaugural address was probably uttered by John F. Kennedy, our 35th President : "...And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country."
Myrlie Evers-Williams, an American civil rights activist and journalist, was the first non-clergy woman to deliver an inaugural prayer at the second inauguration of Barack Obama in 2013.
Paula White-Cain, who prayed at President Trump's inauguration, was the first female clergy member to pray an inaugural prayer at a U.S. inaugural ceremony.
God bless America, my home sweet home!