Inauguration Day: A calendar conundrum
The inauguration of President Barack Obama. Jan. 20 is the traditional day to take the oath, but it fell on a Sunday. While Obama will take the oath privately on Jan. 20, a public swearing-in will take place a day later. Six other presidents have pushed the ceremony forward one day to Monday.
The U.S. Capitol is the traditional venue, but it wasn’t always. When George Washington was sworn in, the Capitol building didn’t exist; nor did the city of Washington. Thomas Jefferson was the first president to take the oath at a still-incomplete U.S. Capitol in 1801.
Bad weather forced several ceremonies indoors, most recently Ronald Reagan’s second inauguration in 1985.
Unusual swearing-in ceremonies have followed presidential deaths. Lyndon Johnson took the oath aboard Air Force One at Love Field in Dallas following the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963.