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Yet again, another inauguration is here. There’s a unique energy about this place as outsiders join the ranks of Washingtonians, here to witness the historical event.
I came across a little gem yesterday, which I found quite interesting in light of all the Inauguration buzz. It’s the official souvenir program for the 1901 Presidential Inauguration. Remember that one? Well, probably not.
On that day in March, 112 years ago, William McKinley was being sworn in for his second presidential term with Vice President Teddy Roosevelt at his side. If you flip through the pages (electronically), you’ll see black-and-white prints of DC’s most dignified buildings and monuments. Pages of cheesy advertisements separate excessive amounts of copy, extolling the city’s modern facilities. This was an all-in-one guide for visitors, complete with suggestions for accommodations and a schedule of inaugural events. Nowadays, well… there’s an app for that.
On Monday, the official Inaugural 2013 app became available for the iPhone and Android. This is the first ever ‘inaugural app,’ which will have live-streaming of ceremony footage, as well as maps of the National Mall showing restricted and unrestricted areas. Pretty incredible. Now back to the 1900’s.
About a two-thirds of the way through the program, I came across what it is I want to share. It was a section titled “The Inauguration in the Year 2001,” where the inaugural committee of 1901 had predicted what the presidential inauguration would be like 100 years from then. It was written as if they had just attended the 2001 festivities:
“The inaugural parade was thirty-six miles in length, and…those participating were carried in aeroplanes.”
“Nearly a half million people had been packed into the great glass-covered arena which fronts the east facade of the new Capitol building.”
“Four great automatic bands were placed in the corners of the space and, operated by buttons, simultaneously rendered a programme of popular music.”
(I encourage you to keep reading)
Quite interesting, and a respectable projection! Much imagination was used to expand upon cutting-edge advancements of their time. And it was perhaps just as good a guess as I could hazard for the Presidential Inauguration of 2101 (which, by the way, I think everyone will be watching in 3-D from their own portable electronic devices. Complete with olfactory features.) Feel free to quote me on that.
I like to imagine the 1901 inaugural committee attending Monday’s inauguration: No airplanes? What’s a smart phone? What’s a Beyonce?
I think they’re in for a treat.
Think your future predictions are better than mine? I’d love to hear them.
I’m Simone. And this is what simone sez…