Tag Archives: President

When Is Thomas Jefferson’s Birthday

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson, one of America’s founding fathers, was also the third President of the United States, one who served two election terms, from 1801-1809, and actively pursued new lands for American citizens during the Louisiana Territory disputes of the early 1800’s. Born in 1743, Thomas Jefferson’s birthday is celebrated every year on April 13th.

The first official celebration honoring the birthday of one of our greatest presidents occurred on April 13th in 1830. A fine dinner was held for a Congressional delegation and attended by President Andrew Jackson and other notable leaders. Some of those who had designed the event had intended to use it as an opportunity to profess their political views, but President Jackson but a terse end to such machinations when he rose to propose a toast and said, “Our Federal Union: It must and shall be preserved.” Quiet dissention involving state’s rights ultimately caused all but thirty members in attendance to leave the room, and such was Jefferson’s first national holiday celebrated. In most states today, Thomas Jefferson’s birthday is a legal holiday while in others it is not.

In the early day of the 20th century, Democrats mostly observed the day, but these days, a non-political observance of the day is celebrated in many states, including Virginia, and most especially at the University of Virginia, which Thomas Jefferson founded in 1819. Opening to students in 1825, it was the first university in the United States to offer a full education to students, and was founded around a library rather than a church. His home in Monticello, Virginia, is the site of pomp and ceremonies every year to celebrate the anniversary of his birth and Americans from around the country make a visit to his home every year to honor his memory.

Known as the silent member of Congress during the days of America’s birth, Thomas Jefferson preferred to express his views with his pen rather than his voice. As a young man of only 33 years old, he drafted our American Declaration of Independence and also wrote a bill that established American rights to religious freedom in 1786. A scholar at heart, Thomas Jefferson admired education and sought to provide educational opportunities for all people, and many of his students went on to become famous American’s in their own right, including American poet Edgar Allen Poe.

His face is familiar to every American who touches a nickel, upon whose surface Jefferson’s strong features are imprinted. His face is also forever immortalized in the huge carvings on Mount Rushmore, South Dakota, along with three other great presidents, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt. Battleships are named after him, as are a myriad of libraries and buildings, streets and town squares. Children in schools memorize his preamble to the Declaration of Independence every year, and learn of his presidency and deeds. His writings are voluminous and highly valued, as are his political writings, some of which are displayed in the Smithsonian as well as the Library of Congress. Few presidents have left such an impact or a legacy of the principles of American freedoms as has Thomas Jefferson, and as such, he remains a beloved figure in American history.

Jefferson died on July 4th, 1826, and his epitaph reads, at his own insistence, “Here was buried Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of American Independence, of the Statute of Virginia for religious freedom and the father of the University of Virginia.”

Thomas Jefferson’s birthday is honored every year, an occasion when all Americans can recognize the spirit of freedom and loyalty that was personified by him. It was Jefferson’s writings that founded our nation, and as such, he will be remembered for all time as one of our greatest Founding Fathers.

When Is Presidential Inauguration Day

inauguration day

Every four years, sometimes eight, a new President of the United States is sworn into office on a particular date: January 20th. That ceremony is called the Presidential Inauguration and it takes place on the steps of the United States capitol building in Washington D.C.

The first Inauguration Day was held in New York City in 1789 as President George Washington took the first oath of office on the steps of the City Hall in New York City. For his second term, Washington took the oath of office in front of Independence Hall in Philadelphia, which was the nation’s first capitol, as did President John Adams. When Thomas Jefferson became president, he took the oath of office in the Senate Chambers of the Capitol building in Washington D.C. President James Madison did likewise, and it was at his inauguration that the first inauguration ball was held.

There are many traditions involved in inauguration day ceremonies, including the participation of all branches of the American military branches. The oath of office is taken on the steps of the capitol at exactly noon, and is administered to the President by the Chief Justice of the United States. The Chief Justice recites the oath, which the President then repeats: “I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of the President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

After the president completes the oath of office, military bands play ‘Hail to the Chief’, followed by a twenty-one Howitzer gun salute. The President then makes a speech, some which last longer than others, which is followed, since 1953, by a luncheon held by Congress members.

Since the early 1800’s it’s been a tradition that the president then travel down Pennsylvania Avenue from the steps of the Capitol building to the White House, either by carriage, car or walking, as President Jimmy Carter did in 1977. The parade has been held every inauguration day since 1805, except in 1985 following President Ronald Reagan’s second inauguration due to frigid temperatures.

The entire inauguration ceremony usually lasts ten days, with five days before and following the inauguration day ceremonies. Many security agencies are charged with keeping the peace and ensuring the safety of government officials, including the Secret Service, the Capitol Police, and the Police Department of the District of Columbia. Inaugural balls are held and attended by leaders and representatives from nations around the globe. It’s a time when Washington D.C. shines, and politicians and their families make appearances and speeches.

Generally, Inauguration Day is a time for all American’s, no matter what political party they belong to, to accept and recognize the new President of the United States. All Americans honor the position of the President and understand the traditions and solemnity due to the occasion, even those who didn’t vote for the President now in office. Especially in Washington D.C., red, white and blue decorations and banners line city streets, especially Pennsylvania Avenue, and the United States Capitol and White House are duly groomed and decorated.

Many schools and businesses have televisions available for people to watch the incoming president take the oath of office and listen to his speech, which often offers an indication to the citizens of America how the incoming president intends to take leadership of one of the greatest nations in the world.

Inauguration Day is unique to America, one that clearly illustrates to the world at large that once the vote for president has been cast, Americans stand united no matter which political party they belong to. Opposing party members may not agree with every decision or personal style of any individual president, but all look to the presidential office as one that belongs to their elected leader and Commander-in-Chief.