Today in history is the date every four years we inaugurate a President. It may be a new President or a President starting their second term, but we do it on Jan 20th every four years. It wasn’t always that way. FDR’s second inauguration in 1937 was the first to be held on Jan 20th. Before that, the date was in March. The reason it got changed – per a Constitutional Amendment – was because the longer time between Election Day and inaugurating a new President was seen as detrimental during the Great Depression. There were many things that the new President wanted to do to alleviate the economic mess that we were in, but couldn’t implement because he was not in office yet – and the outgoing President Hoover was adamant against the federal government being “too active” intervening in society. So after the new President took over there was a great push to shorten the time between Election Day and Inauguration to allow the incoming President to act on the policies for which the public had elected him.
There were a number of firsts over the years. In 1960 JFK was elected and became at age 43 the youngest man to hold the office of President as well as the first Catholic President. In 2009 Barack Obama became the first African American to hold the office. In 2020 Joe Biden at age 78 the oldest man to be elected President, and Kamala Harris became the first woman and African American to be elected Vice President.
The ageless George Burns was born in 1896, departing 100 years later after entertaining us for a lifetime. In 1910 Joy Adamson, painter and conservationist joined us to highlight lions and other wildlife – remember Born Free? Science and Science Fiction were highlighted by the births of DeForest Kelley (1920) “Bones” of Star Trek fame; Buzz Aldrin (1930) who despite conspiracy theorists, really was the 2nd man to walk on the moon; and Tom Baker (1934), who entertained British and American watchers as the long-scarfed 4th Doctor Who.
In 1984 Johnny Wiessmuller quit swinging through the trees as Tarzan, with most people not realizing he had won gold medals in Olympic swimming. We lost 2 notable actresses on this date – Barbara Stanwyck (1990) of westerns, and Audrey Hepburn (1993) of Breakfast at Tiffany’s, My Fair Lady, and Wait Until Dark. And in 2022 Singer Meatloaf, who had a memorable role in the Rocky Horror Picture Show, rode off into the sunset – we will miss him and his voice forever.