It was in New York City, our nation's first capital, that George Washington became the first President of the United States. Congress had planned for the new government to begin its responsibilities on March 4, 1789, but a harsh winter made travel difficult. The first Inauguration Day didn’t take place until April 30th, and began with the sounds of ceremonial artillery and church bells ringing across the city. At noon, General Washington made his way through large crowds to Federal Hall, where both houses of Congress were assembled for swearing-in. New York Chancellor Robert Livingston read the oath, and Washington, his right hand on a Bible, repeated the words inscribed in the Constitution: "I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of the President of the United States and will, to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States." President Washington added the words, "So help me God," a custom followed by every President since. Every four years.
So, today on this Inauguration Day in America, we embrace democracy and welcome in the new administration!