The Second Inauguration of President Obama

Obama oathThe 57th Presidential Inauguration took place on Monday, January 21, 2013 in Washington DC, USA. The 2013 Inauguration ceremonies to honour the start of President Barack Obama’s second term in office included two official Inaugural Balls, a National Day of Service and two swearing-in ceremonies.

Thousands came to Washington, D.C. to help Obama kick off his second round in the White House, including notable names like Beyonce, Alicia Keyes, Katy Perry, Stevie Wonder and James Taylor. An inauguration planning official says that the number of people that attended the festivities was “definitely above 800,000” and possibly up to 1 million people. About 1.8 million people attended President Barack Obama’s first swearing-in in 2009.

Obama dancingWhat’s an “inauguration?”

An inauguration is a formal ceremony to mark the beginning of a major political leader’s term of office. The “inaugural address” is a speech given during this ceremony which informs the people of his/her intentions as a leader. A monarchical inauguration may be called a coronation or enthronement.

The inauguration of the president of the United States takes place every four years on January 20 (unless it is a Sunday, like this year). The day a presidential inauguration occurs is known as “Inauguration Day”. Inauguration day was originally on March 4, four months after Election Day, but this was changed to noon on January 20 by the Twentieth Amendment in 1933. Read the Fun Facts below to find out why.

Obama  inaugural addressUsually the vice-president is sworn in first and the president at exactly 12:00 noon. After they have been sworn in, the president and vice-president are given four ruffles and flourishes. The ruffles are played on drums and the flourishes on bugles, which are simple brass instruments with no valves. The ruffles and flourishes form a fanfare before performance of the president’s anthem, “Hail to the Chief”, and the vice-president’s anthem, “Hail, Columbia”. There is then a 21-gun salute from the howitzers of the military district of Washington.

Where does the word “inauguration” come from?

The historical source of the word “inauguration” stems from the Latin augur, which refers to the rituals of ancient Roman priests seeking to interpret if it was the will of the gods for a public official to be deemed worthy to assume office.

Fun Facts:

George Washington gave the shortest inauguration address in history during his second inauguration on March 4, 1793. Washington’s second inaugural address was only 135 words long!

Back in a time when news was carried by messengers on horses, there needed to be a great length of time between Election Day and inauguration day so that all the votes could be tallied and reported. To allow this time, inauguration day used to be March 4.

By the early twentieth century, this huge amount of time was no longer needed. The inventions of the telegraph, the telephone, automobiles, and airplanes had greatly cut the reporting time needed. The date of inauguration day was changed in 1933 to January 20 by the addition of the 20th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The Amendment also specified that the exchange of power from the lame duck President to the new President would take place at noon.

Franklin D. Roosevelt was both the last President to be inaugurated on March 4 (1933) and the first President to be inaugurated on January 20 (1937).

Read about President Obama’s re-election 2012 here:
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