May 14, 2004

Presidential Fun Fact of the Day

Some tidbits from John Kennedy's inauguration:

1. There was a blizzard in D.C. the night before the inauguration--luckily it subsided by morning. The weather was cold and windy yet sunny for the inaugural ceremony.

2. JFK's was the first inauguration to be shown on color television.

3. Before JFK took the Oath of Office, Cardinal Cushing stepped up to the podium to pray. While giving his prayer, he noticed smoke rising from the lectern. Fearing a bomb, the Cardinal dragged his speech out to 20 minutes long in hopes that any explosion would hit him rather than the new president. The smoke was from an old motor used to adjust the lectern's height. (The Secret Service almost evacuated the area.)

4. JFK made his inauguration unique by inviting poet Robert Frost to speak. (Clinton later emulated this.) When Frost pulled out his poem, he was blinded by the sunlight and could not read. He instead recited the poem from memory.

5. JFK's parade had 32,000 participants but he noticed when the Coast Guard cadets marched by there were no blacks. Soon afterwards, the Coast Guard made a concerted effort to recruit blacks.

Posted by Jennifer at May 14, 2004 08:00 AM