1/21: Memories of Inaugurations Past

By Dr. Lee M. Miringoff

Along with most of the nation today, I’m thinking inauguration.  My first memories of a president taking the oath of office date to 1961.  My age.  Ask not!  My favorite inauguration was the first I had attended, Bill Clinton’s in 1993.

Dr. Lee M. Miringoff overlooking the 1993 Inaugural Parade

There are many great memories from those few days in Washington from the swearing in (excellent seats) to attending the NYS ball that evening (rubbed shoulders with Nelson Mandela).

The top recollection, after the passage of several decades, remains watching the parade down Pennsylvania Avenue from Senator Moynihan’s apartment.  Our own private viewing stand.

My contact with Senator Moynihan dates to phone calls I would regularly receive in the early ‘80s about his latest Marist Poll numbers from his, then, staff aide, Tim Russert.  The relationship with the Senator grew over the years to include seminars at Marist College where he would treat political science students to his special take of politics and policy.  On one occasion, he was even a good enough sport to try his hand at an interview as “Daniel Patrick” with a voter who unfortunately couldn’t rate Senator Moynihan because he had never heard of him.  (Won’t ever try that again.)  And, there were the lunches in the Senate dining room always full of insight and dripping with Capitol lore.

But, his invitation to attend his inauguration party was the best.  And, the memories stay fresh as does my recollection of Senator Moynihan as a great host and gentleman.