The End of One Tradition and the Beginning of Another

Industry Artifacts,

The 1961 Presidential inauguration was historic. President Kennedy would be the last U.S. President to wear the traditional stovepipe top hat—a tradition that began with Abraham Lincoln in 1861.

John F. Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy

A new tradition began the same year. This was the first inauguration where portable restrooms are recorded as being in use—16 total. By comparison, the 2009 Inauguration of President Obama incorporated 8,600 portable restrooms.

newspaper clipping recounts use of portable sanitation

Kennedy’s inaugural address reflected his core beliefs and life experience. He was a war veteran—a combat hero. He thought that a democracy thrives only when citizens contribute their talents to the common good, and that it is up to leaders to inspire citizens to acts of sacrifice. When he exhorted Americans to “Ask not, what your country can do for you,” he appealed to their noblest instincts. Read more about the inauguration.

a ticket from JFK's inauguration

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