Unexpected inaugural moments make history, too

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 19, 2013 at 1:00 pm •  Published: January 19, 2013
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Later that night, the new president delighted thousands at a packed room at the Arkansas ball, where Clinton played "Your Momma Don't Dance and Your Daddy Don't Rock 'n' Roll" on his trademark saxophone with Ben E. King.

Clinton would take up the sax again and jam with Clarence Clemons, and at another ball with Herbie Hancock and Thelonious Monk Jr.

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1989

George H.W. Bush was inaugurated on the 200th anniversary of the presidency, and so one of the two Bibles on which he rested his hand during the oath was the same Bible that George Washington used in 1789. The other Bible belonged to the Bush family.

Bush opened his inaugural address with a tribute to Ronald Reagan, the man he served as vice president, calling Reagan a "man who had earned a lasting place in our hearts — and in our history."

The day marked the first transition in 60 years when an outgoing president had been succeeded by a member of his own party through an election. It had last happened in 1929, when Herbert Hoover succeeded Calvin Coolidge.

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1981 and 1985:

With Jimmy Carter looking on, Ronald Reagan took the oath as the nation's 40th president on an unusually warm January day. But what happened minutes later made this Inauguration Day really different — Iran freed 52 American hostages it had held for 444 days.

A complicated deal worked out in the final weeks of the Carter administration eventually secured their freedom. Reagan, however, announced to the nation that the hostages were on their way home.

Reagan told congressional leaders that some 30 minutes earlier, planes bearing U.S. prisoners left Iranian airspace and "they are now free of Iran." He spoke at the traditional luncheon following the swearing-in.

Four years later, Reagan's second inaugural was remembered for a bitter cold snap. The public ceremony was moved inside, where Reagan delivered his inaugural address to invited guests in the Capitol Rotunda. The traditional parade had to be canceled because of the subfreezing temperatures.

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1977:

Jimmy Carter wanted a people's inaugural.

So, the newly sworn-in president shunned the customary limousine ride from the Capitol down Pennsylvania Avenue during his parade on Jan. 20, 1977. The program had called for Carter to ride in the limo until the procession of marching bands, floats and others was a couple of blocks away from the executive mansion.

Instead, Carter decided to walk the mile-plus parade route.

First, he strolled hand in hand with his wife, Rosalynn. They smiled and waved to an excited — and surprised — crowd.

Then, Carter was joined by his sons, Jack, Chip and Jeff. And later, near the end of the parade route, he was joined by his youngest child, 9-year-old Amy, who walked between her parents, all three holding hands.

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Sources: The Associated Press, Presidential Inaugural Committee 2013 and Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies.