politics

Inauguration Day

American  flagToday is Inauguration Day for the the new President of the United States of America.

Now I'm not going to get into the whys and wherefores of the last four years under the 45th President, or all the controversy that has followed the early November election, or recent events and developments in the place that has prided itself on its democratic history, processes and systems. Too many others have done that already.

But today, when Joseph Biden is sworn in as the 46th President at the Capitol Building  in Washington, D.C. he will follow in a long line of men (yes, only men so far) who have held an appointment which has given them immense power and authority. 

Sometimes it's controversial, and often exciting as the new incumbent of the White House solemnly raises his right hand, places his left hand on a Bible and, before the nation and the world, recites the Oath of Office of the President of the United States of America :-

"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."

It's an important moment in the life of the nation, but sometimes it's more historic than others.

In January 2009, I awoke very early in a hotel room in Christchurch, New Zealand (where I was coming to the end of a fabulous five week Holiday Down Under), to watch the swearing in of President Barack Obama. - his first term of office.

It was 12noon on the 20th January in Washington DC.  For me sitting in my jimjams in New Zealand, it was already 6am on the 21st. But I was absolutely determined to be part of this historic moment  - the swearing in of the first ever African American president. What a day!

So, to mark this next much anticipated inauguration, and as I am a bit of a history nerd, I've been digging further into the history of the Inauguration and I've discovered that it hasn't always been on January 20th or even at the Capitol building in the USA capital.

The first inauguration, of George Washington, took place on April 30, 1789 at Federal Hall in New York city. When he was sworn in, the city that now bears his name wasn't even built and Washington lived in New York and Philadelphia - both cities served as the American capital prior to the one we know today. In fact, it was while Washington was in office that he signed a bill which established a new, future, permanent capital city built along the Potomac River ... the place now named Washington, D.C. in his honour.