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On Jan. 20, Donald J. Trump will take his place as our 45th president.

Inauguration Day, the day a new president takes the oath of office, is a frenzy of activity, filled with balls, parades and ceremonies.

The day starts with a morning worship service, a tradition started by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933, followed by a procession ending at the U.S. Capitol, where the swearing-in ceremony takes place. The new vice president is sworn in first. Then the new president must say, “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

The president then delivers an INAUGURAL address (a speech outlining his vision for America), a tradition that started with the nation’s first president, George Washington, who was sworn in on April 30, 1789, in New York City. 

Finally, the new president and vice president escort the outgoing president and vice president and their spouses out of the Capitol building and watch them depart the grounds (by helicopter)! The new president and vice president return to the Capitol Building for a luncheon hosted by the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies.

The inaugural balls are formal events that many people look forward to in Washington, D.C. The tradition began in 1809 for President James Madison. When James Buchanan was inaugurated in 1857, a temporary ballroom was built for the occasion. Food purchased for the event included: $3,000 worth of wine, 400 gallons of oysters, 500 quarts of chicken salad, 1,200 quarts of ice cream, 60 saddles of mutton, eight rounds of beef, 75 hams and 125 tongues!

January 2017