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Not quite an anniversary...

...on 4 March 1801, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson completed their terms as, respectively, the second President and the second Vice-President of the United States of America. It was a good day for Jefferson, who (like only Adams before him and Martin Van Buren and George HW Bush after him) completed his term in the number two spot by moving up to the top and (unlike the other three) serving two full terms in the newly completed White House. It was a bad day for Adams, who fled Washington before dawn rather than take part in the festivities.

25 years and 43 days later, on 4 July 1826, the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, both Adams and Jefferson breathed their last, aged 90 and 83 respectively. Adams' last words, according to some, were "Jefferson still lives!" (In fact he had died earlier in the day, but hundreds of miles to the south.)

On 20 January 1981, Jimmy Carter and Walter "Fritz" Mondale ended their terms as 39th President and 42nd Vice-President respectively. It was a bad day for both of them; to rub it in, the American hostages held in Iran for 444 days were released, to coincide with the inaguration of President Reagan and Vice-President Bush.

25 years and 43 days later is today, 22 May 2006. So, as of today, Carter has survived the presidency longer than Adams (and indeed longer than any other president except Herbert Hoover and his own predecessor, Gerald Ford) and Mondale has survived the vice-presidency longer than Jefferson, and indeed longer than any other living ex-VP apart from Ford (though there are a bunch of dead ones who he still has to beat - Martin Van Buren, Hannibal Hamlin, James Nance Garner, Levi P Morton, Harry Truman, John Adams, Aaron Burr and Richard Nixon).

Carter is now 81, and has had a pretty vigorous post-presidential career, including winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002. Mondale, now 78, got the Democratic presidential nomination in 1984, but was electorally crushed by Ronald Reagan, running for re-election. He served as US Ambassador to Japan under Clinton, and unexpectedly emerged to fight the Senate seat in Minnesota in 2002, losing narrowly.

I remember the November 1980 election fairly clearly - I felt for Carter, but Reagan won. I don't especially remember the inauguration day itself, though I do remember the first space shuttle launch three months later - I bought my first radio to listen in at lunchtime (and then it was postponed for three days and happened at the weekend anyway).

What were you doing on 20 January 1981? I see that around a quarter of my friends list admits to having been born since then, so you're excused. Anybody else have any memories to share?

Comments

( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
rigel_kent
May. 22nd, 2006 06:02 am (UTC)
I remember, on the pavilion of the park in Saltaire, Long Island, where my family used to Summer, somebody scrawled "Vote for Carter, you'll be Smarter - Vote for Ford, you'll be Bored"...
Anywho...I remember the First Shuttle Launch... I had to go to a friends house to watch because we had a "crazy" neighbor that used to screw up our TV reception with his Ham radio stuff (Ironic, since I'm a Ham myself now)...
anyway I was about 12...
By the bye, my first political memory was asking my Mom (a life-long Republican, and who thinks that Bush is handsome) why Nixon was so bad and she telling me that he wasn't, but that some people wanted to destroy him because they hated America...and that no matter what I did I must *always vote Republican, because the Democrats were only interested in stealing our money...
...sorry....long rambling...
pgmcc
May. 22nd, 2006 11:14 am (UTC)
I'd always wondered about the difference between Republicans and Democrats. Thanks for clearing that up for me.
crazysoph
May. 22nd, 2006 06:11 am (UTC)
I don't really remember that day - very likely, I was in the first week of the second semester at my institution of higher learning (the second half of my first year in college). I was politically so unaware (despite the best efforts of some of my fan friends involved with WisCon, as I was) that I hadn't clued into the whispers of scandal and collusion between Reagan's guys and the hostage-takers in Tehran. (I have since... *sigh* Oh, heck, what's your take on that part of it?)

I do have a very vivid memory of the moment the election previous November had been called: I was in an art class, taking a break, when my teacher, a man of rather visible gay mannerisms, came to me and said in deeply mournful tones how Reagan had won; I empathized in a general way, as I'd not voted for him, but I was really clueless as to the implications that were all to visible to my teacher. I think, looking back, he simply unburdened onto the first person he'd run across after hearing the news.

It's funny, though, how very unmemorable that event is, unlike the previous inauguration... I could read through my transcript for my classes that period, but of the day itself,... nothing.

Crazy(and somewhat sad, now)Soph
crazysoph
May. 22nd, 2006 06:16 am (UTC)
Oh, but belatedly - I do remember that shuttle launch - it was the day after my very first time lifting weights at the gym, and I got up out of my own bed on a very cold morning, before sunrise was even a concept, to get across town (I may have used my bike - highly unusual for the winter, but it served) so I could join several other fans (among them friar_bacon, I think, and tandw) to watch the launch... our little group was very into watching stuff on tv in the most convivial living room of our bunch as a crowd, and anything dealing with the shuttle was guarenteed to turn into a party, even early morning.

I remember feeling rather virtuous, though, all post-workout achy and still moving that much that early in the morning.

Crazy(and feeling slightly less sad, those tv-watching moments of the shuttle were fun then)Soph
rparvaaz
May. 22nd, 2006 06:40 am (UTC)
I must have been in school - I was all of 8 years old, and not interested in politics. The space shuttle launch was big news in school though - it was announced in the school assembly, and the students who actually did crazy stuff like watching the news had all kinds of details. But that has to be a day or so after the launch. I remember staying out in the garden after dusk and trying to make out a new light in the sky...
minny
May. 22nd, 2006 07:27 am (UTC)
I wasn't born but it is exactly two years before I was born.
bopeepsheep
May. 22nd, 2006 08:16 am (UTC)
Almost certainly watching Look and Read, probably a bit of maths, a little bit of English, while the rest of my class swam I would have been reading in the library, and, it being January, probably stayed there at lunchtime too. I have no memories of Reagan being inducted, or the space shuttle launch, which I could swear happened in April not January (I am certain about this even before Googling, because I was staying with a friend for the Easter holidays and watched it at her house).
bopeepsheep
May. 22nd, 2006 08:17 am (UTC)
/me rereads. Ok, three months after inauguration. It's too early on Monday morning for comprehension. :)
nwhyte
May. 22nd, 2006 09:29 am (UTC)
Hah, nice BBC site. I see that the third episode of "Earthsearch" was on on Radio 4 - now, there was a BBC sf phenomenon whose disappearance into the mists of time is entirely justified!
peake
May. 22nd, 2006 08:43 am (UTC)
January 1981 - I'd have been in my first flat in Folkestone, having moved down 18 months before, and that weekend I might very well have been working (my job required one Saturday morning in three). But I have no real memories of it, or of the Columbia launch.

But this is making me feel old. I remember getting up at some ungodly hour in the morning so I could watch the first step on the moon, live. And I was already in my teens then!
flemmarde
May. 22nd, 2006 10:02 am (UTC)
i was in the last couple of weeks of my first year spent wandering around europe alone as a teenager. i've no idea where i actually would have been on that date, but being a backpacking hitchhiker most of the time, i'd guess that the spaceshuttle launch completely passed me by, and i have no memory of it.
nalsa
May. 22nd, 2006 10:22 am (UTC)
20th January 1981; I was seven. We'd just moved into a wreck of a house, with only a few habitable rooms and howling weather, and those first few months were spent without any kind of telly and patchy radio. I suspect I would have been trying to get used to a new school, tinkering with Lego, and keeping my three-year-old sister occupied whilst Dad patched up the leaking roof and Mum dried out our washing on the fireguard (in front of the wood fire). My overwhelming memory of that winter is of woodsmoke... and a set of rubber moulds and plaster for making toy houses. Wish I could remember the name of that set.
brightglance
May. 22nd, 2006 10:27 am (UTC)
I'm pretty sure that I was playing in the snow. I remember there being really deep snow a few days after my birthday and it lasted for ages so it would have still been on the ground. I reckon it was that year because I remember wearing the red scarf I got as a present from my granny and also watching birds in the snow through binoculars (present from my parents).

pgmcc
May. 22nd, 2006 11:08 am (UTC)
I had just returned to work after an Operations Research conference in Coleraine Univesity and a week in bed with what I considered to be a bad flu. It was on my return that I learned my boss was a long term sufferer of Hodgins disease, which eventually claimed his life in Nov 1984. At the time he was considered the longest survivor of Hodgins disease in Europe. He had been diagnosed just after his release from Crumlin Road where he had been interned during the 1950s troubles. He lived in Finaghy too.

Robert Kee's excellent 10 part series on the trouble in NI was eitehr still running or had just ended and ITV was running a poor imitation 4 part series they called "The Troubles".
matgb
May. 22nd, 2006 01:36 pm (UTC)
Like a few others, I was a kid aged 7. Can remember the shuttle launch, my fathers a big science geek and made me watch it I think, but can't remember the politics stuff, I think my parents were keeping the news from us as early kids, first story of a politics nature I recall was the Falklands.

I've got a lot of time for Carter post Presidency, like you say, lot of good work, especially in election monitoring, one of those thankless tasks that needs to be done.
lyrstzha
May. 24th, 2006 11:16 am (UTC)
I don't remember what I was doing on that day precisely, but I do remember feeling wistful and sad about Carter's loss to Reagan. Carter is the last American president I really liked. I recall also the jubilant celebration when the Iranian hostages were released, although when I look back on that knowing what I know now about Reagan's scheming behind the scenes, it's alloyed with a sense of weary disillusionment.
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )

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