Tour Alert: 2021 Presidential Inauguration!
We’re heading to Washington! Every four years, participating in the presidential inauguration helps us to examine the history of our country through the lens of the beginning of a new era. Join us in D.C. for a celebration of our nation’s history and democratic process—a memory that’s sure to last a lifetime.
See where — and how — democracy happens
More than celebrating the start of a new chapter in our nation’s history, modern inaugurations are about affirming and honoring our country’s unique democratic processes. Our modern inaugural festivities reflect not only who’s taking office, but also the desire of Americans to celebrate the nation’s rich history and the confident, peaceful transfer of power.
A brief history of inauguration day festivities
When it comes to inauguration day, our constitution doesn’t give many guidelines, offering only the inauguration date and the words of the oath. The rest is driven by over 200 years of tradition.
George Washington’s inauguration ceremony actually took place in New York City, then the nation’s capital, in April of 1789. It wasn’t until the 20th amendment was introduced in 1933 that inauguration day was changed to January 20th. Inauguration day now takes place in Washington, D.C., home of the White House, the Smithsonian, the U.S. Capitol Building, the Supreme Court, and many historic landmarks and monuments!
Another feature of inauguration day is the presidential address, a speech where the new president talks about their vision for America and their goals for the future. The record for the longest inaugural speech is held by president William Henry Harrison, who gave a nearly two-hour speech in a snowstorm. Unfortunately, he developed pneumonia and passed away exactly one month later, putting his 31 days in office on record as the shortest presidential term in U.S. history. Luckily, subsequent presidents have written shorter speeches and worn warmer coats.
Thomas Jefferson began the tradition of the inaugural parade as we know it today. After his second inauguration in 1805, Jefferson was riding his horse from the Capitol to the President’s House when workers from Washington Navy Yard decided to escort him on foot down Pennsylvania Avenue. That procession grew into today’s inaugural parade, which now features live music, floats, and a procession of the new President, Vice President, and their guests—a great event for photo ops!
Wondering about getting your group to all of these exciting events? Our tour managers know the best spots on the National Mall and along Pennsylvania Avenue, plus all the rest that Washington D.C. has to offer. Check out what other teachers have done or build your own tour!
Why we’re excited for you to join us
At ETA, taking students to Washington, D.C. to celebrate the traditions that make us one of the greatest democracies in the world is really it for us. We love being able to show that the democratic processes we read about in textbooks and hear about on TV truly matter. More than that, visiting these institutions and witnessing historic events provides a real, tangible learning experience that makes all the difference. We can’t wait to hear you say “I was there”.
Join us to celebrate a tradition that started over 200 years ago and persists to this day. Become part of History.