The celebration of Barack Obama’s second inauguration will be held Monday, Jan. 21 – which is also a national holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King – so, many Americans may have the day off and be able to watch the festivities. Many more can log on and watch on their computers or smartphones.
President Obama will actually take the oath of office for his second term at 11:55 a.m. on Sunday in the Blue Room of the White House.
According to inauguralscholar.com, the 20th Amendment to the Constitution changed the beginning of a presidential term from March 4 to January 20, requiring that the President and Vice President be sworn in on that day.
When Jan. 20 falls on a Sunday, as it does this year, precedent determines that a private swearing-in ceremony be held for the President and Vice President on Sunday to fulfill the requirements of the Constitution.
Large crowds and international media coverage are expected for Monday’s public ceremony, which will be held on the National Mall.
Crowds flocking to Washington, D.C. to watch inauguration ceremonies are nothing new. Back on Jan. 20, 1965, an estimated 1.2 million attended the inauguration of President Lyndon B. Johnson – a record holder for any event held at the National Mall until the Obama inauguration in 2009.
Area native L. Cpl. Jim Clark had an “up-close-and-personal” view of the festivities.
Clark, a Marine stationed at Quantico, Va., drove a Toledo-made Kaiser Jeep in the Inaugural Parade, getting a clear view of President Johnson as they passed the reviewing stand. (Fun fact: During the parade, LBJ took his pet beagle into the reviewing stand – the first presidential dog known to have played such a role.)
The then-22-year-old Clark, a graduate of Gibsonburg High School, had a top secret clearance, and did work on the Presidential helicopters.
Clark drove one of several Jeeps specially made for the Inaugural Parade. “There were blue, white and red ones,” he recalled.
“I was part of the American Indian section of the parade,” he said. “My passenger was Chief Enos Poor Bear, Chief of the Oglala Sioux Nation, of South Dakota.”
Clark recalls the streets being lined with people. “We were still in the aftermath of the assassination of President Kennedy,” he said. “And there were a lot of police and military personnel along the parade route.”
In fact, because of security concerns, Johnson was the first President to ride in a bullet-proof car.
Though he doesn’t have any photos of himself in the parade, he does have a letter of commendation from the Kaiser Jeep Company, presented to the service men for the efficient and courteous manner in which they conducted themselves.
"The Jeeps we drove were equipped with special inaugural license plates and everyone who participated was invited to take one of them home,” he said. “I had mine for several years, but after moving several times, I lost it.”
After completing his military service, Clark took a job with UPS and stayed in the Washington, D.C. area. “My wife Phyllis worked for Congressman Del Latta – Bob Latta’s father – on the Hill there,” he said, adding. “Bob was just a little guy then.
"While she was working for Mr. Latta, we got to meet three future presidents – George H.W. Bush, Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan,” Clark said.
Jim Clark, of Woodville, was a 22-year-old Marine in 1965 when he drove a Toledo-made Kaiser Jeep in the Inaugural Parade for President Lyndon B. Johnson.