WASHINGTON (AP) — Dwight D. Eisenhower opened his inaugural speech with "a little private prayer of my own," an unusual, even intimate prelude to remarks that sketched the nuclear-tinged dangers of the time in stark terms and before a vast audience.
Americans tuned in like never before, for this was the first inauguration shown live on TV across the country.
Washington offered a rousing welcome to the man who had led allied forces in Europe to victory. Republicans were especially thrilled, because Jan. 20, 1953, ended 20 years of Democratic control of the White House.
The Associated Press has been going back in history to find its stories from inauguration days long ago. Here is an excerpt from two AP stories on Ike's inauguration as they appeared on the front page of The Bradford (Pa.) Era, Jan. 21, 1953.
Ike Pledges to Seek Peace With Honor
WASHINGTON, Jan. 20 (AP) — Dwight D. Eisenhower became president of the United States today and, with a prayer on his lips, set for his new administration a goal of peace with honor. It must be a peace based on strength and unity in the free world, he said, and there must be no appeasement, because:
"A soldier's pack is not so heavy a burden as a prisoner's chains."
In a moving, dignified ritual as old as the nation itself, the smalltown boy from Kansas took the oath that made him America's 34th chief executive.
Then, in a brief inaugural address from a platform beneath the great grey dome of the Capitol, Eisenhower laid down for "free men everywhere" a challenge to join together against the world menace of communism.
For America, the new President accepted a role of leadership in this mighty effort to gain abiding peace, "to produce this unity, to meet the challenge of our time."