Rite of passage every four years, Richmond
Every four years in Virginia, a new governor takes office. As of January, 2010, Virginia is the last state in the union not to allow governors to immediately succeed themselves. The only governor to serve two non-consecutive terms was Mills E. Godwin (1914-1999). He not only served two non-consecutive terms, he served each as a member of a different party (Democrat: 1966-70, Republican: 1974-78). Usually, the inauguration takes place on the south lawn of the Capitol. But in 2006, the Capitol was undergoing renovation. The last governor, Tim Kaine, took the oath of office in Williamsburg. Virginia has had 71 governors including Gov. Bob McDonnell. I know or have met several, Bill Tuck (1946-50). Gov. Tuck was a friend of my grandfather's. Chuck Robb (1982-86), George Allen (1994-98), Jim Gilmore (1998-2002), and Bob McDonnell.
Fondest memory: On 16 January 2010, my friend Chris Woychak and I got up nice and early to head downtown for the inauguration because we assumed everybody and their brother-in-law would be queuing up outside the gates. We were pleasantly surprised to find we were seventh or eighth to queue up. We waited awhile outside the gate, but when they opened the gates at 9:30am we were rewarded for arriving early. We were told to go to the information booth and pick up tickets for seating before going through the security checkpoint. I understand that the dignitaries should get the best seats and I was grateful not to be standing. My only complaint was they put those of us who queued up first in the bleachers with the worst view of the action when those who came later, like my friend Lee Mitchell, got better seats. It made us regret getting up early to get down there when we could have slept in another hour or so to get a better view.
Bob McDonnell, Bill Bolling, and Ken Cuccinelli were sworn in as governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general at noon spot on. After the new governing ticket took the oath of office there was a 19-gun salute, a Native American recognition ceremony from the eight tribes native to Virginia, and the 192d fighter wing of the Virginia Air National Guard did a flyover.
After they completed the business of the inauguration, the parade started. There were all manner of marching bands from high schools and universities across the commonwealth. Some of those bands displayed the diversity of Virginia like the Hope Chinese School in Great Falls. Instead of seeing the parade from the bleachers, Chris and I headed to the north lawn of the Capitol. We were so close to the parade that we could reach out and touch it. Not only were we able to see the parade more "up close and personal", but various dignitaries left the Capitol grounds via the northern lawn (the back yard of the Capitol).