President Barack Obama may have been sworn in on Sunday, but it is Monday’s public inauguration ceremony that is the true draw. Four years ago, Obama made history as the first black president. Then, he and first lady Michelle Obama did something that bonded them with onlookers who had braved freezing temperatures for hours to get a glimpse of the new commander in chief: The couple go out of their limo and walked down the street to wave to Americans. And according to CNN, the Obamas might have gotten that idea from former President Jimmy Carter.
1977: Carter’s long walk
Jimmy Carter made the decision evidently just three weeks before the inauguration that he would walk after his inauguration back to the White House. And it really was an extraordinary moment. … There was a feeling with Carter that he was being a people’s president, as opposed to the imperial guard that had surrounded Nixon. And so he’s walking, (and first daughter) Amy is running around next to him. There’s a sense of exuberance, and a sense that something special is happening.
1961: JFK’s famous inaugural address
1961: JFK’s stirring address What is so memorable about John F. Kennedy saying that the torch is being passed to a new generation is that he himself represented a new generation. (He was) 22 years younger than Dwight Eisenhower, and what the speech promised was action, movement, (and) a new energy coming into the government and into the country.
When we think of those famous words — “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for the country” — it was followed up by thousands of people wanting to join the Peace Corps, and the Civil Rights movement was already out there. There was a sense of working on poverty, so the words projected action, and that’s what makes them memorable.
Read more at the Huffington Post.