The Fifty-Seventh Presidential Inauguration on January 21, 2013 presented by the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies.

Swearing-In Ceremony for President Ronald W. Reagan

Fiftieth Inaugural Ceremonies, January 21, 1985


Call to Order and Welcoming Remarks

  • Charles McCurdy Mathias Jr.


Reverend Timothy S. Healy, president of Georgetown University

Musical Selection

"Simple Gifts" from Aaron Copland's "Old American Songs" performed by Jessye Norman, soprano


Rabbi Alfred Gottschalk, president of Hebrew Union College of Cincinati

Vice Presidential Oath of Office

Administered to George H.W. Bush by the Honorable Potter Stewart, Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

U.S. Senate Photo Studio

Musical Selection

"The God Who Gave Us Life" from the first section of "The Testament of Freedom" by Randall Thompson performed by the University of Maryland Chorus under the direction of Dr. Paul Traver


The Reverend Donn Moomaw of Bel Air Presbyterian Church

Presidential Oath of Office

Administered to Ronald W. Reagan by the Honorable Warren E. Burger, Chief Justice of the United States.

U.S. Senate Photo Studio

  • Bible Used: Family Bible, given to him by his mother, open to II Chronicles 7:14. (Same Bible used at his 1981 Inauguration)
  • Attire: Business suit

Inaugural Address

‘Senator Mathias, Chief Justice Burger, Vice President Bush, Speaker O’Neill, Senator Dole, Reverend Clergy, members of my family and friends, and my fellow citizens: This day has been made brighter with the presence here of one who, for a time, has been absent—Senator John Stennis.’

Read the address
(Words: 2564)


The Reverend Peter Gomes, minister in the Memorial Church of Harvard University

The National Anthem

The United States Marine Band


U.S. Capitol
Washington, DC


It was sunny, but bitter cold. Wind chill temperatures fell into the -10°F to -20°F range in the afternoon. Estimated noon temperature of 7°F.

Facts, Firsts & Precedents

  • Coldest Inauguration day on record, with a noon temperature of 7°F.

  • January 20th fell on Sunday, so Reagan was privately sworn in that day at the White House; public Inauguration on January 21st took place in the Capitol Rotunda, due to freezing weather

Inaugural Committee

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U.S. Senate Recording Studio

January 20 was a Sunday, and the President took the oath of office, administered by Chief Justice Warren Burger, in the Grand Foyer of the White House. Weather that hovered near zero that night and on Monday forced the planners to cancel many of the outdoor events for the second inauguration. For the first time a President took the oath of office in the Capitol Rotunda. The oath was again administered by Chief Justice Burger. Jessye Norman sang at the ceremony.