My Photographs of the Reagan Inauguration in Jan., 1981
In 1981, I was invited by an old high school friend, Larry Smith, who was at the time, the Asst. Manager of the Congressional Photo Office in the Capitol, to come to D.C. and attend/photograph the Reagan Inauguration. At the time, I happened to be a Reagan fan and jumped at the opportunity. I was living in San Antonio and got credentials from the San Antonio Light newspaper to provide them with my work and was given access to the UPI office in D.C. I was credentialed and as such, given access to the area just behind the Washington press corps positions which were under the where the President would take his oath. However, being pre-2001, security was more flexible and with my credentials over my neck, I quickly found out I could go just about anywhere I had the chutzpah to try to get through to, and up to a point, I did. During the inauguration, I ended up immediately under the inaugural podium and enjoyed almost better access than anyone else there that day. It was, fun. I was wearing a summer suit and the weather started out comfortable, but between the inauguration and the motorcade down Pennsylvania Av., the weather turned and temps dropped 20-30 degrees and it got decidedly uncomfortable. More on that later.
With the selected images below, click on the image for info and an enlargement link. All photos, (except as noted) Walt Farmer, ©1981.
My friend Larry, shot this of me before the ceremonies began. A 1981 model of Liz Taylor & Marine escort.
Another of me w/others of the press corps. President Carter
Reagan's arrival w/Nancy Vice-President elect George H.W. Bush and Barbara.
Compare the crowd to the Obama Inaug. in 2009, and this is the First Reagan Inaugural. Note the empty mall.
Reagan taking oath w/Justice Berger. Reagan inaugural address.
After the big temperature drop, I went down to the mall and made my way over to Pennsylvania Av. near Constitution. My credentials didn't get me on the truck in front of the President's car, but then, I didn't really try or I might have made it. Instead, I got out onto PA Av. in front of the lines of onlookers and waited for the motorcade to begin. When it did, I weaved in & out of the military line on the south side of the street & started to walk with the motorcade up the Avenue, figuring at some point, someone would challenge me or force me off the street. Didn't happen. I just kept moving and shooting and reloading (which is hard as the pace of the motorcade wasn't that slow), and shooting some more. However, notice the skunk-eye I kept getting from the President's Secret Service team at his car. Maybe they were staring at someone else in the crowd? The Agent at the left front of the car is I believe, Agent Tim McCarthy, the agent who was later placed himself between Reagan and Hinckley when Reagan was shot some months later. I think they're taught not to smile, as a friend of mine in the USSS once said that if they did, their pay would get docked. Near the White House & rather exhausted, I gave up on the street and hung back for a few shots of Vice-President Bush (later to become Bush 41), with Barbara.
No sunroof on the 2009 limo. The roof is about 6 ft. high, watch agents put their hands over the door corner when open to protect the occupant on entering/exiting.
After the motorcade & parade, it was off to the balls, or at least two, for me. The Texas Ball and the Hispanic Ball. The following images are from those two, including a somewhat impromptu press conference with the new Vice-President, who just happened to have his son & wife in tow. Who knew? A few dignitaries you might recognize or I'll ID them if you put your cursor on the thumbnail picture as above. As with any inauguration, a long, long day for all, but something to remember.
In the pictures below, I believe the person at the microphone is former Sen. Howard Baker. This is at the Hispanic Ball & he honoring Medal of Honor recipients MSgt Cleto Rodriguez of San Antonio, and another person, who's name I can't recall. Cleto became a friend of mine, as I lived in San Antonio at the time of this "assignment" for the newspaper there. Cleto's citation came from his service in the Philippines. Some of the images below are black & white colorized images.
Frankly, during all this, I paid no attention to W. or had any idea of the fact that he or his father would become President. (In literal circles, no one capitalizes the words President or Vice President, but I can't see why they aren't important enough terms to rate being capitalized.) Jim Wright faced corruption charges later. Bill Clements was an excellent Governor of Texas and Haig had put behind him the flap over whether he was really the "President" when Watergate was over. Jeb Bush became the Governor of Florida and there's already talk of him running for President in the future. Everyone should remember Gov. Connally and how he was shot that day in Dallas when Pres. Kennedy was killed. Somewhat interesting gallery of people on that day.
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