Every presidential inauguration begins with the words “I do solemnly swear” and ends with “protect and defend the constitution of the United States.”
But as another inauguration approaches, let’s look back on some interesting inaugurations that made history or just didn’t go as planned. In fact, for some of the presidents involved, these likely weren’t their proudest moments.
The shortest address in inauguration in history
One of our founding fathers and the very first president of the United States, George Washington, delivered a 135-word address in 1789.
The longest address in inauguration in history
William Henry Harrison’s 1841 address consisted of 8,445 words and may have contributed to him having the shortest term in office.
Harrison delivered his address on a bitterly cold morning in March, something that many historians say may have contributed to his untimely death.
The 9th President of the United States, who, at the time, was also the oldest president to be elected, died from pneumonia about a month after delivering that nearly two-hour-long address.
Dead birds and presidential inaugurations
Strangely enough, dead birds have made their mark on two presidential inaugurations.
The first bird deaths attributed to a president’s inauguration were several canaries meant to liven up Ulysses S. Grant’s 1873 inaugural ball. Unfortunately, the night of the ball was extremely cold and the canaries froze to death.
Birds were also victims of Richard Nixon’s inaugural plans in 1973. Nixon didn’t want pigeons to interfere with his big day and had chemical bird repellent sprayed along the parade route. So dead pigeons were scattered along the route.
The inebriated vice presidential address
The details of Vice President Andrew Johnson’s inaugural address may be a little hazy, that is, at least for him. Johnson, who became the country’s 17th president after President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, delivered an inebriated vice presidential inaugural address in 1865.
Johnson apparently drank “medicinal” whiskey to cure his malaria. Lincoln later defended him saying, “Andy ain’t a drunkard,” according to the Huffington Post.
Seeing as President-elect Donald Trump doesn’t drink alcohol, that shouldn’t interfere with his Jan. 20 inauguration.
As long as he avoids going after any type of birds and going too far off script, he might be able to spare himself from this running list of inauguration fails.
View the full story and video on Circa’s website.