The inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama takes place on January 20. I've collected a few facts about inaugurations. Maybe you can surprise your friends with them.
The first president to ride in a car at his inauguration was Warren Harding in 1921. The thing I read didn't say what kind of a car he rode in. I think I remember it as a Packard, although it may have been a Hupmobile - maybe or even REO.
The first inauguration broadcast on radio was Calvin Coolidge's in 1925. That may have been the most interesting thing Coolidge ever did.
Harry Truman had the first televised inauguration in 1949. I don't know how many television sets there were in 1949. I know we didn't have one yet. I think we got ours in 1951. My father used to sit in front of it and watch anything they put on. Some people still do, of course.
My favorite President Dwight D. Eisenhower's first inauguration lasted the longest. He had 73 bands and floats and horses and what they called "pachyderms" - elephants. It lasted more than four hours.
Obama will be the 44th President of the United States and this will be the 56th formal inauguration. Fifteen presidents were elected to a second term, and in Roosevelt's case to a third and fourth term of course.
I went to Jimmy Carter's inauguration in 1977. What I remember most was how cold it was - one of the coldest days Washington ever had. It was seven degrees on Pennsylvania Avenue. I remember that well. I had to buy a down coat. I think CBS paid for this coat and I still wear it. Should I have given that back?
I don't remember if I actually attended Richard Nixon's first inaugural but I did come across a 1969 Presidential inauguration license plate so I must have been there. Some things you'd rather forget.
I know there are a limited number of inaugural tickets but I'm hoping mine is in the mail. If it comes, maybe I'll sell it to someone who wants to go.
Written by Andy Rooney