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January 17, 2009

Inaugural history: The exuberant parade of 1905

WASHINGTON (AP) — Theodore Roosevelt loved a parade and on March 4, 1905, Washington gave him one as spirited as the man himself.

Roosevelt became president in September 1901 with the assassination of William McKinley. Now, an election victory behind him, he would serve in his own right. An estimated 30,000 marched, among them Roosevelt's beloved Rough Riders from the Spanish-American War, in an exuberant inaugural procession that placed the beaming president up front.

The Associated Press has been going back into history to finds its stories on some of the most notable inauguration days. Here is an excerpt from AP's story on the parade, as it appeared on the front page of The Racine (Wis.) Daily Journal that day:


WASHINGTON, March 4 — President Roosevelt led his inaugural parade in quick marching time from the capitol to the White House. No president in recent years has been as prompt in moving from one end of the avenue to the other. The troops marched in ideal weather, the sky being clear, the sun warm, and a fair breeze blowing. The president lost no time in formalities. He descended the steps which were put in place in front of the inaugural stand and took his carriage without re-entering the capitol. The inaugural march began at 1:20 o'clock and as the president's carriage, followed by that of Vice President Fairbanks and those of the members of the cabinet, proceeded through the capitol grounds, the vast throng hastily placed itself on either side of the line of march and cheered without ceasing.


The procession moved slowly and Mr. Roosevelt in acknowledging the salutes from either side rose to his feet repeatedly and with his silk hat in his hand bowed to right and left. The buildings facing the capitol grounds through which the procession passed, were occupied to their full capacity with cheering people, who waved flags and handkerchiefs. No incident marred in the slightest degree the inaugural procession as it left the scene of the inaugural address and proceeded down past the peace monument and took its way toward the White House on the broad avenue.

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