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Roosevelt’s Inauguration 3/4/33
Courtesy of CSpan.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Inauguration Day. (It was the last before the 20th Amendment moved it to January 21st.) It is hard for us to see though the old film clips but here are some additional notes from H.W. Brand’s biography of Franklin Roosevelt, titled “Traitor To His Class”….

In 1933, the pervading bitterness was similar to that experienced by today’s Republicans. They had talked themselves into believing Herbert Hoover was a shoo in. Instead it was a rout for Roosevelt. Hoover was not a social person to begin with, and his awkwardness continued though out the inauguration….

It was customary at that time, to have the outgoing president host a dinner for the incoming President. Hoover refused, and instead, settled on an awkward afternoon tea… When Mr. Roosevelt tried to mitigate the awkwardness and offer Hoover an early exit, Hoover aggravated the discomfort. “Mr. President” said Roosevelt. “as you know it is rather difficult for me to move in a hurry. It takes me a little while to get up and I know how busy you must be. So please don’t wait for me.” Hoover stood up and affixed Roosevelt with a glare. “Mr. Roosevelt. After you have been President for a while, you will learn that the President of the United States waits for no one…” and stormed off, leaving his wife to say the goodbyes..

Roosevelt began what later becoming tradition, of spending the morning at a private service, this time at St. John’s Episcopal Church. At 11 o’clock the car swung by the Mayflower Hotel and picked up both Franklin and Eleanor, then swung by the White House to pick up Hoover. Hoover surveyed the White House grounds then climbed in and scarcely looked at the Roosevelts…

As the open car pulled down Pennsylvania Avenue, Franklin politely acted like the cheers were for the actual president at that moment, the outgoing one, and declined to acknowledge them… But within blocks the fiction became unattainable and he began acknowledging the crowd by tipping his silk hat and smiling and the anger radiated by Hoover, intensified stronger.

In the Capitol he watched the swearing in of the Senators, and the Vice President John Nance Garner and watched what would be the last adjournment of a Lame Duck Congress. At one o’clock all moved outdoors and in front of a crowd of 100,000, began the ceremonies. Roosevelt was uncharacteristically serious. Many of his staff were surprised by his somber character…

As you can see in the beginning of the clip above, upon taking the oath of office Franklin took the unusual step of repeating back the entire part read from the Constitution, before saying “I do.”

This is a day of national consecration and I am certain that my fellow Americans expect that on my induction into the Presidency I will address them with a candor and a decision which the present situation of our nation impels.”

Hoover was standing next to Roosevelt and his dour expression became a grimace as he anticipated another attack upon his administration… But Roosevelt proceeded with words of encouragement and hope.

“This great nation will endure as it has endured, and will revive and prosper. Let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.– nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror, which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”

This line did not resonate as it does now, as the famous line we now know from our study of history. At the time, it was patiently false. Americans did have a lot to fear. Banks were closed. There was massive unemployment. Hunger was widespread, and a financial system could barely get up onto its knees.. If you notice in the clip above, to the line… there is no applause.

More noticed and featured in the following day’s headlines, were these lines assailing “unscrupulous money changers” of Wall Street as those responsible for America’s plight. “Plenty is at our doorstep, but a generous use of it languishes in the very sight of the supply”.. “Primarily this is because the rulers of the exchange of mankinds’ goods have failed through their own stubbornness and incompetence.” Waxing eloquently, “the money changers have fled from their high seats in the temple of our civilization. We may not restore that temple to the ancient truths…”

Other applause lines: “our greatest primary task is to put people to work.” This would be accomplished in part by the “direct recruiting of the government itself; treating the task as we would the emergency of war.”

“We must frankly recognize the overabundance of population in our industrial centers and, by engaging on a national scale in a redistribution , endeavor to provide a better use of the land for those best fitted for the land.”

He calls for “definite efforts to raise the values of agriculture products” for insistence that the “federal, state, and local governments act forthwith on the demand that their cost be drastically reduced”, and he spoke for an “adequate but sound currency”… He set the agenda with this: “The international trade regulations though vastly important, are, in point of time and necessity, secondary to the establishment of a sound national economy.”

If you didn’t get the gist of it, Roosevelt’s words were purposefully vague. They were crafted to inspire confidence that action was forthcoming, without belying that on one yet knew what action or actions would begin to take place. “We must act, and we must act quickly.”

“I shall not evade the clear course of duty that will then confront me. I shall ask the Congress for the one remaining instrument to meet the crises– broad executive power to wage a war against the emergency as great as the power that would be given to me if we were in fact invaded by a foreign foe.

No president, not even Lincoln, had spoken boldly of the power he would require. The American people were demanding much, and they deserved all that government could accomplish for them.

“They asked for discipline and direction under leadership. They have made me the present instrument of their wishes. In the spirit of their gift….. I take it.

He had an amazing 100 days.

There is a huge irony that on this same date, 80 years later, we are facing our first full day of sequestration; the exact opposite of what Franklin Delano Roosevelt ran against, won against, and fought against the entire length of his presidency. And his policies would still be in effect today. if it weren’t for the Republicans and the presidency of George W. Bush.

Roosevelt’s Inauguration 3/4/33

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Check the facial contortions

This is just too funny

Pictures speak 1000 words.

Once again, to keep this close and treasure an event that will be discussed with grandchildren, as I’m sure were spoken by witnesses of Lincoln’s Second, and Washington’s second…. I introduce to Atlantic’s compilations of what a Presidential Inaugural day is all about…. Thanks for the tickets Joe.

(I occasionally need inspiration. So I’m keeping this close where I can remind myself why we do what we do. It is here if any of you need to charge your batteries over the next four years as well….)

I Swear To Defend The Constitution Of the United States


EMBARGOED UNTIL DELIVERY

January 21, 2013

Remarks of President Barack Obama – As Prepared for Delivery
Inaugural Address
Monday, January 21, 2013
Washington, DC

As Prepared for Delivery –

Vice President Biden, Mr. Chief Justice, Members of the United States Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow citizens:

Each time we gather to inaugurate a president, we bear witness to the enduring strength of our Constitution. We affirm the promise of our democracy. We recall that what binds this nation together is not the colors of our skin or the tenets of our faith or the origins of our names. What makes us exceptional – what makes us American – is our allegiance to an idea, articulated in a declaration made more than two centuries ago:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Today we continue a never-ending journey, to bridge the meaning of those words with the realities of our time. For history tells us that while these truths may be self-evident, they have never been self-executing; that while freedom is a gift from God, it must be secured by His people here on Earth. The patriots of 1776 did not fight to replace the tyranny of a king with the privileges of a few or the rule of a mob. They gave to us a Republic, a government of, and by, and for the people, entrusting each generation to keep safe our founding creed.

For more than two hundred years, we have.

Through blood drawn by lash and blood drawn by sword, we learned that no union founded on the principles of liberty and equality could survive half-slave and half-free. We made ourselves anew, and vowed to move forward together.

Together, we determined that a modern economy requires railroads and highways to speed travel and commerce; schools and colleges to train our workers.

Together, we discovered that a free market only thrives when there are rules to ensure competition and fair play.

Together, we resolved that a great nation must care for the vulnerable, and protect its people from life’s worst hazards and misfortune.

Through it all, we have never relinquished our skepticism of central authority, nor have we succumbed to the fiction that all society’s ills can be cured through government alone. Our celebration of initiative and enterprise; our insistence on hard work and personal responsibility, are constants in our character.

But we have always understood that when times change, so must we; that fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges; that preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action. For the American people can no more meet the demands of today’s world by acting alone than American soldiers could have met the forces of fascism or communism with muskets and militias. No single person can train all the math and science teachers we’ll need to equip our children for the future, or build the roads and networks and research labs that will bring new jobs and businesses to our shores. Now, more than ever, we must do these things together, as one nation, and one people.

This generation of Americans has been tested by crises that steeled our resolve and proved our resilience. A decade of war is now ending. An economic recovery has begun. America’s possibilities are limitless, for we possess all the qualities that this world without boundaries demands: youth and drive; diversity and openness; an endless capacity for risk and a gift for reinvention. My fellow Americans, we are made for this moment, and we will seize it – so long as we seize it together.

For we, the people, understand that our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it. We believe that America’s prosperity must rest upon the broad shoulders of a rising middle class. We know that America thrives when every person can find independence and pride in their work; when the wages of honest labor liberate families from the brink of hardship. We are true to our creed when a little girl born into the bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anybody else, because she is an American, she is free, and she is equal, not just in the eyes of God but also in our own.

We understand that outworn programs are inadequate to the needs of our time. We must harness new ideas and technology to remake our government, revamp our tax code, reform our schools, and empower our citizens with the skills they need to work harder, learn more, and reach higher. But while the means will change, our purpose endures: a nation that rewards the effort and determination of every single American. That is what this moment requires. That is what will give real meaning to our creed.

We, the people, still believe that every citizen deserves a basic measure of security and dignity. We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit. But we reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future. For we remember the lessons of our past, when twilight years were spent in poverty, and parents of a child with a disability had nowhere to turn. We do not believe that in this country, freedom is reserved for the lucky, or happiness for the few. We recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, any one of us, at any time, may face a job loss, or a sudden illness, or a home swept away in a terrible storm. The commitments we make to each other – through Medicare, and Medicaid, and Social Security – these things do not sap our initiative; they strengthen us. They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great.

We, the people, still believe that our obligations as Americans are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity. We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations. Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms. The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition; we must lead it. We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries – we must claim its promise. That is how we will maintain our economic vitality and our national treasure – our forests and waterways; our croplands and snowcapped peaks. That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God. That’s what will lend meaning to the creed our fathers once declared.

We, the people, still believe that enduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war. Our brave men and women in uniform, tempered by the flames of battle, are unmatched in skill and courage. Our citizens, seared by the memory of those we have lost, know too well the price that is paid for liberty. The knowledge of their sacrifice will keep us forever vigilant against those who would do us harm. But we are also heirs to those who won the peace and not just the war, who turned sworn enemies into the surest of friends, and we must carry those lessons into this time as well.

We will defend our people and uphold our values through strength of arms and rule of law. We will show the courage to try and resolve our differences with other nations peacefully – not because we are naïve about the dangers we face, but because engagement can more durably lift suspicion and fear. America will remain the anchor of strong alliances in every corner of the globe; and we will renew those institutions that extend our capacity to manage crisis abroad, for no one has a greater stake in a peaceful world than its most powerful nation. We will support democracy from Asia to Africa; from the Americas to the Middle East, because our interests and our conscience compel us to act on behalf of those who long for freedom. And we must be a source of hope to the poor, the sick, the marginalized, the victims of prejudice – not out of mere charity, but because peace in our time requires the constant advance of those principles that our common creed describes: tolerance and opportunity; human dignity and justice.

We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths – that all of us are created equal – is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth.

It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began. For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers, and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law – for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote. Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity; until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country. Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for, and cherished, and always safe from harm.

That is our generation’s task – to make these words, these rights, these values – of Life, and Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness – real for every American. Being true to our founding documents does not require us to agree on every contour of life; it does not mean we will all define liberty in exactly the same way, or follow the same precise path to happiness. Progress does not compel us to settle centuries-long debates about the role of government for all time – but it does require us to act in our time.

For now decisions are upon us, and we cannot afford delay. We cannot mistake absolutism for principle, or substitute spectacle for politics, or treat name-calling as reasoned debate. We must act, knowing that our work will be imperfect. We must act, knowing that today’s victories will be only partial, and that it will be up to those who stand here in four years, and forty years, and four hundred years hence to advance the timeless spirit once conferred to us in a spare Philadelphia hall.

My fellow Americans, the oath I have sworn before you today, like the one recited by others who serve in this Capitol, was an oath to God and country, not party or faction – and we must faithfully execute that pledge during the duration of our service. But the words I spoke today are not so different from the oath that is taken each time a soldier signs up for duty, or an immigrant realizes her dream. My oath is not so different from the pledge we all make to the flag that waves above and that fills our hearts with pride.

They are the words of citizens, and they represent our greatest hope.

You and I, as citizens, have the power to set this country’s course.

You and I, as citizens, have the obligation to shape the debates of our time – not only with the votes we cast, but with the voices we lift in defense of our most ancient values and enduring ideals.

Let each of us now embrace, with solemn duty and awesome joy, what is our lasting birthright. With common effort and common purpose, with passion and dedication, let us answer the call of history, and carry into an uncertain future that precious light of freedom.

Thank you, God Bless you, and may He forever bless these United States of America.

George Washington
Second Inaugural Address

Andrew Jackson
Second Inaugural Address

Abraham Lincoln
Second Inaugural Address

Grover Cleveland
Second Inaugural Address

Franklin D. Roosevelt
Second Inaugural Address

Bill Clinton
Second Inaugural Address

One Sun Shines On Them AllCourtesy of Fine Art America; by Ed Welker

Robert Bianco’s poem enlisted and spoken at the inauguration was probably the high point, eclipsing the inauguration speech, and both the singing of Beyonce, and Carrie Underwood.

it was a poem of understatement. A simple description of the sun rising and shining over this nation on one day of its life. Bonding us all in the unity of experience we all undergo. No matter the differences of our upbringing, the differences of your heritage, the differences of our finances, we all wake up to one sun….

East or West, North, or South, one sun shines down on this country….

We are all Americans, based on the geography of where we live. Divisions do not becomes us. We all bask in the same sun.

New York and San Antonio, Miami and Seattle. All live and bask under the same sun. Different to be sure. But all Americans. All sharing the heat and warmth from the one sun, as the world turns underneath…..

It was the most emotional moment of the celebration. As camera’s panned the crowd one could see the emotion being experienced was not just inside ones self but in commoners and the elite as well…. Like it or not, we are all American. We have so much in common we probably take it too much for granted….

One, today.

One sun rose on us today,
Kindled over our shores,
Peeking over the Smokies,
Greeting the faces of the Great Lakes,
Spreading a simple truth across the Great Plains,
And Charging across the Rockies,
One Light.

Waking up rooftops,
Under each one a story,
Told by our silent gestures
Moving across windows,
My face,
Your face.
Millions of faces in morning’s mirrors.
Each one yawning to life,
Crescendoing into our day,
The pencil yellow school buses,
The rhythm of traffic lights,
Fruit stands: apples, limes, and oranges,
Arrayed like rainbows, begging our praise.
Silver trucks, heavy with oil or paper, bricks or milk,
Teeming over highways
Along side us,
On our way,
To clean tables,
Read ledgers,
Or save lives,
To teach geometry,
Or ring up groceries,
As my mother did
For twenty years,
So I could write this poem for all us,
Today.

All of us,
As vital as the one light we move through,
The same light on blackboards with lessons for the
Day.
Equations to solve,
History to question,
Or atoms imagined.
The “I have a Dream”
We all keep dreaming,
The impossible vocabulary of sorrow,
That won’t explain the empty desks,
Of twenty children marked absent,
Today,
And forever.

Many prayers,
But one light,
Breathing color into stained glass windows,
Life into the faces of bronze statues,
Warmth onto the steps of our museums,
And park benches
As mothers watch children,
Slide
Into the
Day.

One ground,
Our ground.
Rooting us to every stalk of corn,
Every head of wheat,
Sown by sweat and hands,
Hands gleaning coal,
Or planting windmills,
In deserts and hilltops that keep us warm,
Hands digging trenches,
Routing pipes, and cables.
Hands,
As worn as my father’s,
Cutting sugarcane,
So my brother and I could have books,
And shoes.

The dust of farms and deserts,
Cities and plains,
Mingled by one wind,
Our breath.

Breathe.

Hear it through the days gorgeous din
Of honking cabs,
Buses launching down avenues,
The symphony of footsteps, guitars,
And screeching subways.
The unexpected songbird
On your clothesline.
Hear squeaky playground swings,
Trains whistling,
Or whispers across cafe tables.
Hear the doors we open,
Each day for each other.
Saying hello,
Shalom,
Bonjour-no,
Howdy,
Na me state,
Or, buenos dias
In the language my mother taught me,
In every language
Spoken into one wind,
Carrying our lives without prejudice,
As these words break from my lips.

One sky.
Since the Appalachians and Sierras claimed their majesty,
And the Mississippi and Colorado
Worked their way to the sea.
Thank the work of our hands,
Weaving steel into bridges,
Finishing one more report for the boss,
On time,
Stitching another wound, or uniform.
The first brush stroke on a portrait,
Or the last floor on the Freedom Tower,
Jutting into the sky,
That yields to our resilience.

One sky,
Toward which we sometimes lift our eyes,
Tired from work,
Some days guessing at the weather
Of our lives,
Some days giving thanks for a love,
That loves you back.
Sometimes praising a mother who knew how to give,
Or forgiving a father, who couldn’t give what you wanted.

We head
Home,
Through the gloss of rain,
Or weight of snow.
Or the plum-blush of dusk,
But always,
Always
Home.
Always under one sky,
Our sky.
And always one moon,
Like a silent drum,
Tapping on every rooftop,
Of every window of one country,
All of us
Facing the stars,
Hope:
A new constellation,
Waiting for us to map it,
Waiting for us to name it,

Together.

Throughout history as leaders take office they get sworn in with lots of pomp and circumstance.  I ask that everyone takes a brief second to acknowledge how lucky we are that our leader was not decided by a blood line, a pope, a coup, but was chosen by the people of this nation itself.  

Not everyone may agree he is the best choice, but everyone should agree that we are the best nation because of how he was chosen.

The Tribe has spoken.