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January 21, 1985
The big but very cold day—below zero early morning without factoring in the wind chill. We made the right decision about canceling the parade & moving the ceremony into the rotunda. First stop was St Johns Church. Learned that Congressman Gillis Long (La.) died last night in his sleep—heart failure. Back to the W.H. for a family photo then on to the Capitol with Tip O’Neill & Mac Mathias as escorts. About 1000 people in the rotunda. When the ceremony & my inaugural address were over we moved into statuary hall for the congressional lunch. Back to the W.H. and we helicoptered out to Capitol Center where the thousands of paraders from 50 states were gathered all in their uniforms & regalia. A tremendous job had been done of putting things together—just overnight. We & the Bushes & Ron Walker (Chmn.) were on what would have been the final float in the parade. Those marvelous young people really had an enthusiastic time. The All American band put together of bands from all over the co. provided music & a good time was had by all.
Back at the W.H. we met the 50 state parade marshals. At lunch Tip told me privately he was very conscious of the fact that I had received 59% of the vote. Then 11 Inaugural balls to attend. And we did them all—11 of them. At almost all we were supposed to (& did) dance about a minute. Except for 1 orchestra they all played very slow music. I figure they were being nice—or thought they were because of my age.