Coolidge buffs re-enact 2:47 AM oath of office, honor his response to Japanese earthquake

By Guy Page

At 2:47 AM today, re-enactors including former Gov. Jim Douglas celebrated the 100th anniversary – to the minute – of Calvin Coolidge taking the presidential oath of office as administered by his father at the Coolidge Homestead, following the death of President Warren B. Harding. 

For those who missed it, the re-enactment will be reprised this afternoon at 2:47 PM, and again in Saturday at the same time. The Calvin Coolidge Foundation’s celebration of 100th anniversary of the first day in office of Vermont’s most famous, most silent president will be noted by many other events today.

2:00 PM ~ Coolidge Centennial Ceremony marking the centennial anniversary of the Coolidge presidency. The ceremony will take place in front of the Coolidge Homestead in Plymouth Notch, and will conclude with a reenactment of the 1923 inauguration.

2:47 PM ~ Homestead Inauguration Reenactment (Reprise), Coolidge Homestead. This event will be held in the afternoon for those unable to join the earlier 2:47 AM rendition.

4:00 PM ~ Special Presentation: Coolidge and the 1923 Tokyo Earthquake, Church. One of Coolidge’s first challenges as president came in September 1923 when the Great Kanto Earthquake struck Japan, killing thousands and devastating the country. The response of President Coolidge and the American people is still remembered in Japan today. Gov. Jim Douglas interviews Professor Yuichi Ono of Japan’s Tohoku University.

6:00 PM ~ Theatrical Premiere of Coolidge: Rediscovering an American President, Woodstock Town Hall Theatre for Vermont’s theatrical premiere of the new Coolidge film. Hosted by Pentangle Arts. Address: 31 The Green, Woodstock.

Coolidge’s Sept. 3 response to the catastrophic earthquake in Japan was classic Coolidge – compassionate, frugal with government resources, trusting in the generosity of individual Americans and private organizations. In a letter written to “the People of the United States,” he promised government support but more strongly urged citizens to donate to the Red Cross. 

U.S. Navy historical records say that ships unloaded thousands of tons of rice and other foodstuffs donated by Americans responding to appeals from their president and others.

In March 1924, Coolidge personally presented the Congressional Medal of Honor to a sailor who rescued a Japanese woman from a crumbling hotel during the earthquake. 

Categories: History

2 replies »

  1. “If the spirit of liberty should vanish in other parts of the Union, and support of our institutions should languish, it could all be replenished from the generous store held by the people of this brave little state of Vermont.”

    – Calvin Coolidge
    What would “Silent Cal” think about his “Brave little state today ?

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