Inauguration of Jimmy Carter
|Date||January 20, 1977|
|Location||United States Capitol,
|Participants||President of the United States, Jimmy Carter
Warren E. Burger
Walter F. Mondale
The inauguration of Jimmy Carter as the 39th President of the United States was held on January 20, 1977. The inauguration marked the commencement of the four-year term of Jimmy Carter as President and Walter Mondale as Vice President and also marked the end of a shortened term served by Carter's predecessor, Gerald Ford. Chief Justice Warren E. Burger administered the Oath of office to Jimmy Carter, and House Speaker Tip O'Neill administered the Oath of office to Walter Mondale. This was the last inauguration that was set up on the East Portico of the U. S. Capitol.
Carter took the Oath with a Family Bible, open to Micah 6:8 and also the same Bible used by George Washington at his 1789 inauguration. The Bible that originally belonged to Washington was at the time in the possession of St. John's Mason Lodge No. 1. The weather was cold, but sunny, with a wind chill factor in the teens. The estimated noon time temperature was at about 28 degrees, but the cold did not stop many excited spectators from catching a glimpse of the new president being sworn into office. Carter ended the Oath with the famous words, "so help me God"
Carter's inaugural address was 1,228 words long. In it, he spoke of bringing "a new spirit" among us all", and urged Americans to "reject the prospect of failure or mediocrity". He also expressed his desire that someday "the nations of the world might say that we had built a lasting peace, built not on weapons of war but on international policies which reflect our own most precious values".
Following the swearing-in ceremony, Carter became the first president to walk from the Capitol to the White House in the post-ceremony parade. Carter also requested that the traditional Inaugural luncheon, an event hosted by the JCCIC (Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies), be canceled. Coverage of the event was provided by CBS and the ceremony was televised throughout the United States. Carter popularized the ILY sign when he signaled it to a group of Deaf people. Prior to this, the ILY was an obscure sign only used among a specific Deaf community in the Midwestern United States. Today, it has become an international signal in both Deaf and hearing culture, informally meaning "I Love You."
Songs performed at Carter's inauguration included Willie Nelson's "Crazy," sung by Linda Ronstadt; Irving Berlin's "God Bless America," sung by Aretha Franklin; "Take Care of This House" from the Broadway musical 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue by Leonard Bernstein and Alan Jay Lerner, performed by Frederica von Stade and the National Symphony Orchestra; and "Bess, You Is My Woman Now" from George Gershwin's Porgy and Bess (lyrics by DuBose Heyward), sung by Donnie Ray Albert and Clamma Dale.
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