Presidents' Day


As the nation celebrates Presidents' Day, I thought it would be fun to look at some of the traditions that a seated president partakes in.

Inauguration Day

Inauguration Day is held on January 20th, every 4 years, unless that date falls on a Sunday (Polk refused to take oath on the Sabbath leading some to claim that David Rice Atchison actually was president for 24 hours).  George Washington gave the shortest inauguration day speech, using only 135 words, in his second inauguration.

Turkey Pardoning on Thanksgiving

While there has been some form of turkey pardoning since Abraham Lincoln made Thanksgiving an official holiday in 1863, George H.W. Bush was the first president to formally give a Presidential Pardon in 1989.  This tradition has been upheld every year since.

The Presidential First Pitch

This tradition started in 1910 by William Taft at a Washington Senators game.  Since 1910, every president has thrown at least one opening day first pitch, with the exception of Jimmy Carter.  Carter did, however, throw out the first pitch for Game 7 of the 1979 World Series.

State of the Union Entrance            

I am sure you have all seen the man come out just before the president and shout, “Mr. Speaker, the President of the United States!”  This man is the Sergeant at Arms and is the chief law enforcement officer for the House of Representatives.  He is one of 3 people that is able to speak during the State of the Union address (albeit not very long), with the Speaker of the House, who gives a brief introduction of the president, and obviously the president, being the other two.

White House Christmas Tree

In 1929, Lou Henry Hoover "officially" started the tradition of the White House Christmas tree.  Since then, each year, the first lady decorates the tree to her liking.  In 1961, Jacqueline Kennedy took the tradition one step further and began the tradition of decorating the tree with a “theme."  Her theme:  A Nutcracker Christmas.