The Inaugural Committee Invites Kennedy Family Friend Richard R. Flood to John F. Kennedy’s Presidential Inauguration
JOHN F. KENNEDY, Invitation to the Inauguration, January 20, 1961, with additional invitation to the Inaugural Concert by the National Symphony Orchestra, January 19, 1961, and a Calendar of Inaugural Activities from January 18-20, and original envelope addressed to “Mr. and Mrs. Richard Flood / 24 Winsor Park Road / Lowell, Massachusetts.” Inaugural invitation: 1 p., 8.5" x 11.25"; Inaugural Concert invitation: 1 p., 7" x 9.75"; Inaugural Activities Calendar, 2 pp., 7.25" x 10.5". Envelope torn on three edges in opening; all other items very good.
A strong nor’easter storm the day before the inauguration dropped a total of eight inches of snow on Washington, creating chaotic transportation conditions and stranding more than 1,400 cars along the parade route, which had to be removed. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers cleared the streets during the evening and morning of the inauguration.
That morning, Kennedy attended a Mass at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Georgetown before proceeding to the Capitol with outgoing President Dwight D. Eisenhower. There, a Catholic Cardinal, a Greek Orthodox Archbishop, and a Protestant minister offered prayers and a Rabbi presented a blessing. Marian Anderson sang “The Star-Spangled Banner,” followed by a musical composition by Leonard Bernstein. Speaker Sam Rayburn of the House of Representatives then administered the oath of office to Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson. Poet Robert Frost presented a poem, and Chief Justice Earl Warren administered the oath of office to President John F. Kennedy, using a closed family Bible.
Over the next fourteen minutes, Kennedy delivered his inaugural address, the first to be televised in color. Near the conclusion, he offered a challenge: “And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” In addition to former Presidents Harry S. Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower, future Presidents Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard M. Nixon, and Gerald Ford were all present on the platform. Former President Herbert Hoover was prevented by the weather from attending. After the inaugural ceremonies, a parade along Pennsylvania Avenue escorted the new president to the White House, where he observed the rest of the parade from a reviewing stand.
Richard R. Flood (1914-1969) was born in Massachusetts and graduated from Harvard College in 1939 and from its law school in 1946 as of 1942. Flood served as a lieutenant in the Navy during World War II. He received a master’s degree from the Harvard Business School cum laude in 1947. Admitted to the Massachusetts bar in 1948, he established a practice in Lowell, Massachusetts, and was a partner in the firm of Flood, Valentine, and Foisy until his death.
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