This numbered edition of The Inaugural Story is limited to 2,000 copies.
The inauguration of a President is the high point in the four-year cycle of the American government. It is a solemn occasion; it is a gala occasion; it is a time of pomp and circumstance and of the pageantry and gaiety of parades, balls, and receptions.
Yet none of this celebration and only one small bit of the ceremony is necessary to install a President. The Constitution has only one simple requirement of the President-elect: it prescribes the simple oath that they must take, in which they promise to execute faithfully the office of President and to defend the Constitution. That is all there is to it. All else that happens on Inauguration Day is custom and tradition, accumulated since George Washington became the first President.
When Richard Milhous Nixon became the 37th President of the United States, he stood in the shadow of 180 years of history. He repeated, word for word, the same oath that George Washington had taken in 1789; he delivered his Inaugural Address from the portico of the Capitol as James Polk and Abraham Lincoln and William McKinley had done before him; and after the ceremony he rode down Pennsylvania Avenue as had Andrew Jackson, Ulysses Grant, Woodrow Wilson, and both the Roosevelts.
It is a good and comforting thing that so much of the past looks over the shoulder of the present when a President is inaugurated. It reassures every American citizen, even those apprehensive of change, that the nation is in good hands; that policies may change, but the Presidency remains unaltered. The inauguration of President Nixon has already taken its place in history, and something of what happened on January 20, 1969, will almost certainly be woven into the future inaugural ceremonies and celebrations, to become part of the fabric of tradition.
Because so much of the venerable past is present at an inauguration, it is difficult to tell the story of today without often looking backward to see when and how a custom arose. For that reason, the Inaugural Book and Program Committee elected to tell the story of the events of Inauguration Day, 1969, against the backdrop of inauguration days long faded into dim memory. Toward that end was created The Inaugural Story.
American Heritage Magazine, The 1969 Inaugural Book Committee
11.25h x 8.75w x 0.9"d