At what year or parts of years were the most current (meaning in office) and former Presidents of the United States alive? It seems that 1833 to 1836 had the most current, former, and future Presidents alive, but what year had the most that actually or were currently serving?
According to this article, combined with recent events, there have been four times when six presidents were alive at once.
- March 4, 1861 to January 18, 1862: Van Buren, Tyler, Fillmore, Pierce, Buchanan, Lincoln
- January 20, 1993 to April 22, 1994: Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton
- January 20, 2001 to June 5, 2004: Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush Jr
- January 20, 2017 to November 30, 2018: Carter, Bush, Clinton, Bush Jr, Obama, Trump
With the inauguration of Joe Biden, this has happened a fifth time:
- January 20, 2021 to present: Carter, Clinton, Bush Jr, Obama, Trump, Biden
Here's where I previously predicted it would likely not happen again for the foreseeable future, but given the happy determination of Carter to live forever, I will not do so again.
Former U.S. president Ronald Reagan dies
On June 5, 2004, Ronald Wilson Reagan, the 40th president of the United States, dies, after a long struggle with Alzheimer’s disease. Reagan, who was also a well-known actor and served as governor of California, was a popular president known for restoring American confidence after the problems of the 1970s and helping to defeat communism.
Born on February 6, 1911, Reagan, who was nicknamed Dutch as a youngster, was born and raised in several small towns in Illinois. Despite a disadvantaged upbringing—his father abused alcohol and had trouble holding jobs—Reagan was a popular and outgoing student. He served as president of his high school’s student council and stood out at football, basketball, and track, as well as acting in several plays. During the summer, he worked as a lifeguard, reportedly saving 77 people over six years.
After high school, Reagan enrolled at Eureka College, a small, Christian, liberal-arts school in Eureka, Illinois, from which he received a scholarship. There, he continued to show athletic prowess, playing football and swimming, as well as honing his skills in his two future pursuits: acting and politics. Reagan—then a Democrat—served as Eureka’s student-body president and acted in the college’s theater productions.
In 1932, Reagan graduated from Eureka with a degree in sociology and economics and found a job as a radio sports announcer. He worked in radio for five years, before going for a screen test in Los Angeles while in California to cover the Chicago Cubs’ spring-training camp. Warner Brothers offered the future president a seven-year contract, but asked him to use his given name Ronald instead of Dutch in the movies.
Although he never became an A-list star, Reagan spent 20 years in Hollywood and appeared in more than 50 films and several television programs. His oft-used nickname as president, The Gipper, came from his turn playing Notre Dame football star George The Gipper Gipp in the 1940 film Knute Rockne: All American. In 1940, Reagan married actress Jane Wyman. The couple had two children: Maureen, in 1941, and Michael, whom they adopted in 1945. Reagan and Wyman divorced in 1949.
Although Reagan did not serve combat duty in World War II because of his poor eyesight, he began active duty in 1942 and made training films for the military until his discharge in 1945. Politically, it was during the 1940s that Reagan gradually became more conservative and also became involved in the country’s burgeoning anti-communist movement. In 1947, he testified to the controversial House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), naming elements in Hollywood that he felt were allied with communist causes. Later that year, he was elected president of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), a position he held from 1947 to 1952 and again from 1959 to 1960.
Through the course of his work with SAG, Reagan met Nancy Davis, an actress who looked to Reagan for help when she was incorrectly labeled a communist sympathizer. As he had done for others, Reagan assisted her in clearing her name. The couple also began a lifelong romance and was married in 1952. Their two children, Patricia and Ronald, were born in 1953 and 1959, respectively.
After registering as a Republican in 1962 and campaigning for Barry Goldwater in his failed 1964 presidential campaign, Reagan decided to run for governor of California in 1966. He won handily, despite his lack of experience. His plan for California foreshadowed the one he ultimately brought with him to the national stage: lower taxes, cuts in spending and an end to "big government." Despite the student protests and forced tax hikes that occurred during his first term, he ran again and was easily re-elected in 1970. Just 18 months later, he announced his unsuccessful candidacy for president at the Republican National Convention. In 1975, he left office in California and ran again for the Republican presidential nomination, losing in a close race to Gerald Ford.
In 1980, Reagan ran yet again and won the nomination, choosing George H.W. Bush as his running mate. Running on a platform of small government, a stronger military and tax cuts, Reagan appealed to an American public frustrated with inflation and foreign policy problems, like the Iran hostage crisis. He won, and at age 69, became the oldest man to be elected to the office. A talented and practiced public speaker, Reagan’s personal charm, warm manner and optimistic message endeared him to many Americans. He was re-elected in 1984.
Just 69 days after taking office, Ronald Reagan was shot by John Hinckley after giving a speech at a hotel about one mile from the White House. After surgery to remove the bullet, which had lodged near his heart, he recovered quickly, which added to his image as a strong leader. Throughout his two terms in office, Reagan pursued his trademark economic program, Reaganomics𠅊 supply-side economics theory that involved drastic cuts to both taxes and spending. At the time, and increasingly in the intervening years since his presidency, Reagan drew criticism for ruthlessly slashing social programs while building up a huge deficit with massive military expenditures. He is also criticized for his partiality to business interests, removing many regulations on big business that he felt were impeding growth, as well as authorizing the firing of striking air-traffic controllers in 1981.
It was his campaign to end the Cold War, though, that defined the Reagan presidency for many Americans. His plan was to use an unprecedented military buildup to negotiate arms-reduction treaties from a position of strength. During a visit to Germany, he famously urged then-Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down that wall. By 1991, the Berlin Wall was torn down and the Soviet Union Reagan had once referred to as an evil empire was no more. While many credit Reagan for this historic turn of events, and it is certain he played a significant role, others point to internal problems in the Soviet Union for its ultimate demise.
Reagan’s foreign policy included military interventions in Lebanon, Grenada and Libya, which had mixed results. He is also known for backing anti-communist rebels in Nicaragua and authorizing a secret CIA military operation there in the early 1980s. This led to the Iran-Contra scandal, in which it was found that illegal arms sales to Iran were used to fund the administration’s support of Nicaragua’s Contra rebels. No evidence was ever found to suggest that Reagan himself or Vice President Bush broke the law. Despite the scandal, George H.W. Bush succeeded Reagan to the presidency in 1988.
Known as the Great Communicator, Reagan left the Oval Office as one of the most popular presidents in history, retiring to his California ranch, Rancho del Cielo. His announcement in 1994 that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease was greeted with great sadness by many across the country. He wrote, in an open letter to the American people, "I now begin the journey that will lead me into the sunset of my life. I know that for America there will always be a bright dawn ahead."
He lived out the rest of his days on the ranch, with his wife Nancy, who remained devoted to him to the end. He was buried at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.
The 5 wealthiest US presidents
Presidents with vast wealth have existed since America's birth. These are 5 of the wealthiest of them.
Many U.S. presidents and candidates have accumulated large fortunes over their lifetimes. Some were born into wealthy families while others came from more humble beginnings.
Below is a list of the five richest U.S. presidents in history at their peak of their wealth. All dollars are reflected to adjust for inflation.
Trump has made no secret of his vast fortune or real estate empire. With an estimated net worth of $3.1 billion, he stands out as the wealthiest American president.
President Donald Trump with members of the president's coronavirus task force speaks during a news conference at the Brady press briefing room of the White House on Wednesday in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
He took over his father's real estate company and expanded into casinos, golf courses and other holdings throughout the world that bear his name.
The 11 Most Racist U.S. Presidents
Let's imagine the unimaginable: Donald Trump was elected president in November. Yes, president of the United States.
Let's imagine the impossible: he forced Mexico to build a border wall. Let's imagine the unthinkable: he deported millions of Latino/as. Let's imagine the unconscionable: he ruthlessly terrorized Muslim Americans and #Black Lives Matter activists. Let's imagine the unacceptable: middle and low income people suffered horribly under the weight of this billionaire's policies.
Let's imagine that he did not moderate on his campaign pledges and he carried them out as president. Would a President Trump go down in the annals of American history as one of the most racist presidents ever?
He certainly would face a substantial amount of competition on the racist front. There have been many frightfully racist U.S. presidents in American history. Here are the 11 most racist U.S. presidents of all time.
11. George Walker Bush 43rd President (2001-2009)
Not only did President Bush's No Child Left Behind Act (NCLBA) in 2003 increase the stranglehold of standardized testing on America's children--tests antiracists have long argued were racist. NCLBA more or less encouraged funding mechanisms that decreased (or did not increase) funding to schools when students were struggling or not making improvements on tests, thus privately leaving the neediest students of color behind.
43rd President (2001-2009)
Then two years later, President Bush's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) publically left thousands of stranded Black folk behind after Hurricane Katrina hit on August 29, 2005. While reporters quickly reached the Gulf Coast, federal officials made excuses for their delays, quickening the death spiral in New Orleans, ensuring that President Bush would land on this list of the most racist presidents of all time. And to top it all off, President Bush's economic policies--his lax regulation of Wall Street loaners and speculators--helped bring into being the Great Recession, bringing about the largest loss of Black and Latino wealth in recent history.
10. John Calvin Coolidge Jr. 30th President (1923-1929)
President Bush's FEMA response to Hurricane Katrina seemed prompt when compared to President's Coolidge's handling of the Great Mississippi (River) Flood of 1927. While most White communities were saved, riverside Black communities were flooded to reduce the pressure on the levees. And then these thousands of displaced Blacks were forced to work for their rations under the gun of the National Guard and area planters, leading to a conflagration of mass beatings, lynchings, and rapes. Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover, who President Coolidge eventually appointed to head the relief efforts, capitalized on southern segregationists' support for his flood mismanagement and succeeded Coolidge in the White House.
30th President (1923-1929)
President Coolidge also signed arguably the most racist and ethnocentric immigration act in history, an act championed by Republican eugenicists and Democratic Klansmen. The Immigration Act of 1924 was co-authored by Washington Congressman Albert Johnson, well-schooled in theories of "yellow peril" that had rationalized discrimination against west coast Asians for decades. The bipartisan measure further restricted immigration from southern and eastern Europe, severely restricted African immigrants, and banned the immigrations of Arabs and Asians. "America must be kept American," President Coolidge had said during his first annual message to Congress in 1923.
9. Dwight David Eisenhower 34th President (1953-1961)
Most presidents made this list for what they did. President Eisenhower made this list for what he did not do. He made this list as a representative of all those U.S. presidents who did nothing to stop the trepidations of slavery and segregation and mass incarceration.
34th President (1953-1961)
When NAACP lawyers persuaded the U.S. Supreme Court to rule Jim Crow as unconstitutional in 1954, President Eisenhower did not endorse Brown v. Board of Education and dragged his feat to enforce it. At a White House dinner the year before, President Eisenhower had told Chief Justice Earl Warren he could understand why White southerners wanted to make sure "their sweet little girls [are not] required to sit in school alongside some big black buck." He reluctantly sent federal troops to protect the Little Rock Nine who were desegregating an Arkansas high school. He considered that act to be the most repugnant of all his presidential acts. During those critical years after the 1954 Brown decision, this former five-star World War II general did not wage war against segregation. And he remains as much to blame as anyone for its persistence, for the lives lost fighting against it.
11th President (1845-1849)
In the 1840s, western expansion of the U.S. was uniting White Americans, while the western expansion of slavery was dividing White Americans. Months after President Polk took office, John O'Sullivan had imagined White Americans' "manifest destiny. to possess the whole of the continent which Providence has given us." President Polk leaned on this racist idea when his administration waged the Mexican American War (1846-1848). War propagandists framed the U.S. as bringing freedom and civilization to the backward Mexicans. From the war spoils, the U.S. seized from Mexico nearly all of what is now the American Southwest--a gargantuan land seizure that mirrored the ongoing violent seizures of Native American land and the ongoing violent seizures of Black labor.
President Polk led the fight against those politicians and activists pressing to ban slavery in the new southwestern territories. This lifelong slaveholder was angrily hated by antislavery Americans as the leader of the western marching "Slave Power." Indeed, President Polk wanted slavery to extend to the Pacific Ocean. He looked away as White slaveholders (and non-slaveholders) danced around the legal protections for Mexican landowners inscribed in the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, and went about illegally stealing the lands of the new group of Mexican American citizens. President Polk started a forgetful history of the Mexican southwest--and the long history of racism against Mexicans inside and outside of the border--a history of racism that is now fueling the campaign of Donald Trump.
7. Thomas Woodrow Wilson 28th President (1913-1921)
The same reasons why antiracist students have been pushing recently for Princeton University to take Wilson's name down from campus buildings are the same reasons why he made this list. President Wilson never turned his back on the racist ideas he produced as a Princeton political scientist. President Wilson oversaw the re-segregation of the federal government. Black federal workers were fired, and those that remained faced separate and unequal workspaces, lunchrooms, and bathrooms. He refused to appoint Black ambassadors to Haiti and the Dominican Republic, as was custom. Professor Wilson and then President Wilson unapologetically backed what he called the "great Ku Klux Klan," and championed the Klan's violent disenfranchisement of southern African Americans in the late 19th century. President Wilson began the brutal two-decade U.S. occupation of Haiti in 1915, preventing Haitians from self-governing. And possibly most egregiously, at the Versailles Convention settling World War I in 1919, President Wilson effectively killed Japan's proposal for a treaty recognizing racial equality, thus sustaining the life of European colonialism.
28th President (1913-1921)
6. Franklin Delano Roosevelt 32nd President (1933-1945)
Eleanor Roosevelt's storied life of activity on the civil rights front could not save her husband from making this list. Neither could the storied life of activity on the racist front of his uncle Theodore Roosevelt save him. FDR's racism was even more impactful that his uncle, Teddy. President Roosevelt's executive order in 1942 that ended up rounding up and forcing more than 100,000 Japanese Americans into prisons during World War II is arguably the most racist executive order in American history (He thankfully spared German and Italian Americans from the military prisons, but that showed his racism).
32nd President (1933-1945)
And while some of the White American competitors in the 1936 Berlin Olympics received invitations to the White House, Jesse Owens did not. President Roosevelt's snub of the U.S. four-time gold medal winner came around the same time he was pushing through Congress all of the job benefits in his New Deal, like minimum wage, social security, unemployment insurance, and unionizing rights. Farmers and domestics--southern Blacks' primary vocations--were excluded from the New Deal and federal relief was locally administered, satisfying southern segregationists. Northern segregationists were also satisfied by the housing discrimination in New Deal initiatives, like coding Black neighborhoods as unsuitable for the new mortgages. As such, Black communities remained buried in the Great Depression long after the 1930s while these New Deal policies (combined with the GI Bill) exploded the size of the White middle class.
5. Thomas Jefferson 3rd President (1801-1809)
By the time President Jefferson took office in 1801, his "all Men are created equal" was fast becoming a distant memory in the new nation's racial politics. President Jefferson had emerged as the preeminent American authority on Black inferiority. His racist ideas ("The blacks. are inferior to the whites in the endowments both of body and mind") in his perennially best-selling Notes on the State of Virginia (1787) were that impactful. His Notes were useful for powerful Americans rationalizing slavery after the American Revolution. In the book, Jefferson also offered the most popular race relations solution of the 19th century: the freeing, "civilizing," and colonizing of all Blacks back to "barbaric" Africa.
3rd President (1801-1809)
President Jefferson should be applauded for pushing Congress to pass the Slave Trade Act in 1807. Then again, a new evil replaced the old. The measure closed the door on the nation's legal participation in the international slave trade in 1808, and flung open the door on the domestic slave trade. Large slaveholders like President Jefferson supported this law since it increased the demand and value of their captives. They started deliberately "breeding" enslaved Africans to supply the demand of planters rushing into the Louisiana territory, which President Jefferson purchased from Napoleon in 1803. "I consider a woman who brings a child every two years as more profitable than the best man on the farm," Jefferson explained to a friend on June 30, 1820.
5th President (1817-1825)
If Jefferson was the brainchild of the colonization movement, then President Monroe was its pioneering initiator. Weeks before he was elected, candidate Monroe watched and supported the formation of the American Colonization Society. Presiding over the first meeting, House Speaker Henry Clay tasked the organization with ridding "our country of a useless and pernicious, if not dangerous" population, and redeeming Africa "from ignorance and barbarism." By 1821, President Monroe had seized a strip of coastal West African land. This first American colony in Africa was later named "Liberia," and its capital was named "Monrovia."
But it was another namesake that really thrust President Monroe onto this list. "We. declare that we should consider any attempt on their part to extend their system to any portions of this hemisphere as dangerous to our peace and safety." Thus said President Monroe during his seventh annual message to Congress in 1923. Several U.S. presidents used this "Monroe Doctrine" as a rationalizing cord for U.S. intervention into sovereign Latin American states, including the toppling of governments unfriendly to U.S. interests. This Monroe Doctrine was as racist and devastating to Latin American communities abroad as the doctrine of Manifest Destiny was to indigenous communities at home. In 2013, President Obama's Secretary of State John Kerry declared to the Organization of American States the "era of the Monroe Doctrine is over."
3. Ronald Wilson Reagan 40th President (1981-1989)
The arbiter of the "welfare queen" myth who evoked the old slaveholder and segregationist mantra of "states' rights" perfected President Richard Nixon's infamous "southern strategy" that actually worked nationally. President Reagan attracted voters through racially coded appeals that allowed them to avoid admitting they were attracted by the racist appeals. He stood at the head of a reactionary movement that undid some of the material gains of civil rights and Black power activists. During President Reagan's first year in office, the median income of Black families declined by 5.2 percent and the number of poor Americans, who were disproportionately Black, increased by 2.2. million--a sign of things to come under Reaganomics. Then in 1982, President Reagan announced his War on Drugs at an inauspicious time: when drug use was declining. "We must mobilize all our forces to stop the flow of drugs into this country," Reagan said.
40th President (1981-1989)
President Reagan surely did not mobilize any of his forces to stop the CIA-back Contra rebels of Nicaragua from smuggling cocaine into the country to fund their operations. But he surely did mobilize his forces to draw media attention to their spreading of crack cocaine in 1985. The media blitz handed his slumbering War on Drugs an intense media high in 1986. That fall, he signed "with great pleasure" the Anti-Drug Abuse Act, which established minimum sentencing for drug crimes and led to the mass incarceration of Black and Brown drug offenders over the next few decades. Like his campaign strategies, President Reagan took President Nixon's racist drug war to a new level, and the mass incarceration of Black and Brown bodies accelerated under the Bush (times two) and Clinton administrations, especially after Clinton's 1994 crime bill. White drug offenders, consuming and dealing drugs at similar or greater rates, remained disproportionately free. Reagan stands on this list as the representative of all these mass incarcerating presidents in the late 20th century.
7th President (1829-1837)
Yes, the president the U.S. Treasury is planning on putting on the back of Harriett Tubman is the second most racist president of all-time. Ironically, he attracted the same demographic groups (less educated, less affluent White men) that Trump is attracting these days.
Jackson stepped into the U.S. presidency as a wealthy Tennessee enslaver and military general who had founded and spearheaded the Democratic Party. Jacksonian Democrats, as historians call them, amassed a winning coalition of southern enslavers, White working people, and recent European immigrants who regularly rioted against abolitionists, indigenous and Black communities, and civil rights activists before and after the Civil War. When the mass mailings of antislavery tracts captured national attention in 1835, President Jackson called on Congress to pass a law prohibiting "under severe penalties, the circulation. of incendiary publications." And the following year Jackson and his supporters instituted the infamous "gag rule" that effectively tabled all the anti-slavery petitions rushing into Congress.
And yet, it was his Indian removal policies that were the most devastating of all on the lives of Native Americans (and African Americans). Beginning with the Indian Removal Act of 1830, President Jackson forced several Native Americans nations to relocate from their ancestral homelands in the Southeastern United States to areas west of the Mississippi River--all to make way for those enslaved Africans being forcibly hauled into the Deep South. President Jackson help forge this trail of Native American tears out of the Deep South, and this trail of African tears into the Deep South.
17th President (1865-1869)
This Democrat from Tennessee was sworn into the presidency after John Wilkes Booth assassinated Abraham Lincoln days after the Civil War ended. When President Johnson issued his Reconstruction proclamations about a month later on May 29, 1865, he deflated the high hopes of civil rights activists. President Johnson offered amnesty, property rights, and voting rights to all but the highest Confederate officials (most of whom he pardoned a year later). He later ordered the return of land to pardoned Confederates, null and voided those wartime orders that granted Blacks forty acres and a mule, and removed many of the Black troops from the South.
Feeling empowered by President Johnson, Confederates instituted a series of discriminatory Black codes at the constitutional conventions that reformulated southern states in the summer and fall of 1865. The immediate postwar South became the spitting image of the prewar South in everything but name--as the law replaced the master. These racist policies caused a postwar, war, since an untold number of Black people lost their lives resisting them.
[OC] The life and times of all US Presidents
I hope this sticky assists you in having an informed discussion in this thread, or inspires you to remix this data. For more information, please read this Wiki page.
I was inspired by the post that I saw in r/dataisbeautiful earlier today, so I put this together. I wanted to see a visual history of the US Presidency, from the birth of the very first President through today.
The data is publicly available and I used Excel to create the visual. Not the most elegant tool, but, you know, I still love it.
Why did you choose to list Grover Cleveland twice instead of listing both terms on one line?
How did you use Excel to do this? Did you actually do this in a worksheet by shading cells?
Now I like a variant where they are all aligned to the left, so one can better see at what age they were(/are) presidents.
I went looking for some data for this (here), and it turns out Trump has the record for oldest person to begin their presidency at 70 years (TIL Trump is 71 right now), with the youngest being Theodore Roosevelt at almost 43 years old.
Perk: Daily Security Briefings
When you are the president of the United States, you have access to the confidential information gathered by the nation’s intelligence services. As a courtesy, former commanders in chief are still given access to daily security briefings when they leave office — under one condition. Whether or not a former president will be allowed to receive the briefings, which include confidential information about situations both domestic and foreign, is completely up to the sitting president.
A look at the zodiac signs of all the US presidents
The United States is currently being run by a Gemini.
That's right. US President Donald Trump was born on June 14, 1946, toward the tail end of Gemini's horoscope range.
To recap, twelve astrological signs make up the classic Western zodiac, which dates back to ancient times. Sun sign astrology, which focuses on the position of the Sun on your birthday, took hold in the 20th century. It seeks to link each astrological sign with vaguely-worded personality profiles.
So can these astrological symbols tell us anything about the tenures of individual US presidents?
But, whether you think horoscopes are fluff and nonsense or you religiously check if Mercury is about to retrograde, it's fun to look back on what constellation each president was born under.
6 respectful facts about the Sentinels who guard Arlington’s Tomb of the Unknowns
Posted On February 24, 2021 08:12:00
It doesn’t matter if the sun is shining, if a hurricane is passing through Washington, DC or if a Tomb Guard accidentally gets stabbed in the foot. There will always be an American soldier of the highest caliber “walking the mat” at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. For 24 hours a day, seven days a week since 1937 there has always been a guard on watch.
Photo by Elizabeth Fraser, Arlington National Cemetery
Stationed at Arlington National Cemetery’s most popular tourist attraction, the Tomb Sentinels have the hardest and most coveted job in the entire U.S. Army. No other special assignment has such strict standards, and for good reason.
But there is a lot that goes into being the most visible symbol of America’s dedication and honor for its fallen heroes that the public may not know about.
1. They don’t wear rank insignia for a reason
Unlike every American soldier, sailor, airman or Marine, the guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier do not wear rank insignia on their coats when guarding the tomb. Since the fallen inside the tomb are unknown, and no one knows what rank they actually were, Tomb Guards don’t wear visible rank so they don’t outrank who they might be guarding.
Only when the relief commanders come out to change the guard, do they wear an NCO’s rank. Their actual rank is separate from the uniform they wear while on duty at the tomb.
2. The Tomb Guard Badge is the 3rd least awarded badge in the Army
In third place behind the Military Horseman Identification Badge and the Astronaut Badge, acquiring the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Guard Identification Badge is not just rare, it’s incredibly difficult. Only 20% of applicants are accepted for training and the washout rate is astronomical.
3. It’s not a job, it’s a lifestyle.
This is not just a lifestyle in the way that the Army life is a different way of life. When serving as a Tomb Guard, the job becomes your life for 18 months. The average sentinel take 8 hours to prepare everything required to go on duty for his next and that shift is a 24-hour shift.
4. Being on duty means the world’s strictest schedule
Tomb Sentinels stand two-hour watches in 24 hour shifts. In that time, they will repeatedly count to 21, which is representative of the 21-gun salute, the highest military honor given. The guard’s motions are a seven step process.
- A 21 step march down the 63-foot-long black mat.
- A turn toward the Tomb for 21 seconds.
- A turn and face the opposite direction of the mat, weapon change to outside shoulder, and wait 21 seconds.
- March 21 steps down the mat.
- Turn and face the tomb for 21 seconds.
- Turn and face the opposite direction, weapon shifted to outside shoulder, and wait 21 seconds.
- Repeats the routine until the soldier is relieved at the Changing of the Guard.
5. The weapons and the gloves used to handle them are special
The gloves worn by Tomb Sentinels are usually wet to give them better control of the rifle in their hand as they switch it from shoulder to shoulder. Their weapons are special versions of whatever infantry rifle is standard issue at the time they’re posted, with ceremonial stocks. Currently, they use a fully functional but unloaded and well-cleaned M-14.
Non-commissioned officers wear a special sidearm during the Changing of the guard ceremony. The pistol is also whatever is standard-issue for the Army, but Sig-Sauer, the company that makes the Army’s standard-issue sidearm, created four special pistols just for the Old Guard, which includes wood from a ship that served in the Spanish-American War.
6. The guards aren’t there for show
The Army originally placed guards at the Tomb of the Unknown to deter picnickers from having lunch on top of the hallowed gravesite. In the years that followed, the threat to the tomb became greater than having a good view during lunch and guards are posted to keep people from defacing or touching the monument. or even failing to show proper respect.
These are not the Buckingham Palace guards, and they will take steps to deter any encroachment on the tomb, by any means necessary.
William Henry Harrison
Bad luck might be the reason for the financial problems of William Henry Harrison, the short-lived ninth president of the U.S. A career in the Army and then in public service left him little chance to accumulate wealth he was dependent on the modest income of his farm, and after inclement weather destroyed his crops, while he was serving as the Ambassador to Colombia, he fell on hard times, struggling to meet his creditors' demands even as he ran for the presidency. Upon his death—a month after his Inauguration Day—he was virtually penniless. Congress voted to give his widow a special $25,000 pension, along with the lifelong right to mail letters for free.
Why These Four Presidents?
Gutzon Borglum selected these four presidents because from his perspective, they represented the most important events in the history of the United States. Would another artist at that time, or perhaps a modern artist choose differently? As you read more about Borglum's choices, think about what you might have done if the decision was up to you.
George Washington, First President of the United States
Born 1732, died 1799. Washington led the colonists in the American Revolutionary War to win independence from Great Britain. He was the father of the new country and laid the foundation of American democracy. Because of his importance, Borglum chose Washington to be the most prominent figure on the mountain and represent the birth of the United States.
"The preservation of the sacred fire of Liberty, and the destiny of the Republican model of Government, are justly considered as deeply, perhaps as finally staked, on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people." George Washington
Other places to learn more about George Washington:
Thomas Jefferson, Third President of the United States
Born 1743, died 1826. Jefferson was the primary author of the Declaration of Independence, a document which inspires democracies around the world. He also purchased the Louisiana Territory from France in 1803 which doubled the size of our country, adding all or part of fifteen present-day states. Gutzon Borglum chose Jefferson to represent the growth of the United States.
"We act not for ourselves but for the whole human race. The event of our experiment is to show whether man can be trusted with self - government." Thomas Jefferson
Other places to learn more about Thomas Jefferson:
Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States
Born 1858, died 1919. Roosevelt provided leadership when America experienced rapid economic growth as it entered the 20th Century. He was instrumental in negotiating the construction of the Panama Canal, linking the east and the west. He was known as the "trust buster" for his work to end large corporate monopolies and ensure the rights of the common working man. Borglum chose Roosevelt to represent the development of the United States.
"The first requisite of a good citizen in this Republic of ours is that he shall be able and willing to pull his weight - that he shall not be a mere passenger." Theodore Roosevelt
Other places to learn more about Theodore Roosevelt:
Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States
Born 1809, died 1865. Lincoln held the nation together during its greatest trial, the Civil War. Lincoln believed his most sacred duty was the preservation of the union. It was his firm conviction that slavery must be abolished. Gutzon Borglum chose Lincoln to represent the preservation of the United States.
"I leave you hoping that the lamp of liberty will burn in your bosoms until there shall no longer be a doubt that all men are created free and equal." Abraham Lincoln
Other places to learn more about Abraham Lincoln:
To learn more about these four presidents and all the others follow this link to the White House.