Sunday, January 20, 2013

It's the Inauguration! Some Traditions, New and Old

The official Presidential flag
 On Monday, January 21, 2013, the flag flies in honor of two federal holidays.

The first is in honor or Dr. Martin Luther King's birthday which is celebrated the third Monday in January.

The second holiday is the public inauguration for President Obama's second term in office. Traditionally, inaugurations are scheduled for January 20 but when that falls on a Sunday, the service and celebrations related to the public inauguration move to the next day, Jan. 21.

While this is not the first time the public inauguration will be celebrated on January 21 rather than January 20, there are several "firsts" that will be associated with this inauguration as well as a great deal of added symbolism.

• Presidents get to choose which Bible they would like to use when they are sworn in. As you might imagine, there are family Bibles as well as historic Bibles that are especially popular. 

The Lincoln inaugural Bible, also used by Obama ...twice!
President Obama will be taking the oath of office with his hand placed on two Bibles with historic and symbolic significance. One of these Bibles is the same Bible President Lincoln was sworn in with during his first term in office. 

Obama also used this Bible four years ago. The other Bible he will use is one that was used by Dr. King. 

• The prayer for Pres. Obama's inauguration will be given by Myrlie Evers-Williams, the widow of Medgar Evans, the slain civil rights fighter, and a long-time activist herself. While it is unusual for a lay person to give the prayer, Ms. Evers-Williams is the first woman to do so.

• When Obama takes his oath of office, he will be facing the Lincoln Memorial, the location where Dr. King gave his "I have a dream" speech. And his hand will be on Bibles used by those same men.

Obama's first inauguration drew the largest crowds to date.  In fact, so many people were there to celebrate that it was the first time "the entire National Mall was was used as a public viewing area" (Huffington Post). Obama's first inauguration also was the first time a woman senator served as the event host. Who was that woman? Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

Dr. King giving his "I Have a Dream" speech at the Lincoln Memorial
Here are more historic "firsts" and just some interesting facts about our presidential inaugurations!

Let it fly!


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