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Inauguration Day

Posted By Foundation for American Christian Education, Thursday, January 19, 2017

George Washington taking the oath of office at his First Inaugural, April 30, 1789

On January 20, Donald J. Trump will be inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States. The inauguration ceremony will commence our new president’s fouryear term in office.

The ceremony culminates in the new president taking the oath of office, which is found in Article II of the Constitution. The Constitution states:

Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation: — "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

By tradition, presidents add the phrase, “So help me God.”

Our first president, George Washington held his inaugural on April 30, 1789. Washington much preferred to retire to private, domestic life, but reluctantly agreed to take on the Executive Office. As he said in the first inaugural address, “I was summoned by my Country, whose voice I can never hear but with veneration and love…”.

Washington is remembered as the “Father of His Country” not only because he was the first U.S. president, but also because he set the standard of character, piety, integrity, equanimity and patriotism by which all subsequent presidents have been measured. He rose above prejudice, politics, and personal interests and sought to do what was right for the country. As David Ramsay, M.D., wrote in 1811 in The Character of Washington by His Contemporaries:

Truth and utility were his objects he readily pursued, and generally attained them. With this view he thought much, and closely examined every subject on which he was to decide, in all its relations. Neither passion, party spirit, pride, prejudice, ambition, nor interest, influenced his deliberations.
In making up his mind on great occasions, many of which occurred in which the fate of the army or nation seemed involved, he sought for information from all quarters, revolved the subject by night and by day, and examined every point of view. Guided by these lights, and influenced by an honest and good heart, he was imperceptibly led to decisions which were wise and judicious.*

As we witness the solemn inaugural ceremony held in our nation’s capital tomorrow, we will look to our first president as the example of dignity and honor due to the office of president and chief executive of our nation. We pray for our incoming president, Donald J. Trump that God will give him wisdom, a spirit of unity, a genuine love for our nation and respect for the liberty we treasure.

*George Washington: The Character and Influence of One Man, a compilation by Verna M. Hall, published by Foundation for American Education

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