Inauguration notebook: Native son takes oath; Pence sign goes up in city; area residents at inaugural ball

Columbus native takes oath as vice president

At 11:53 a.m. Friday, Mike Pence placed his left hand on two stacked Bibles, raised his right hand and repeated 73 words that cemented the Columbus native as the 48th vice president of the United States.

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas administered his oath of office during the public ceremony at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on a cool, wet, overcast morning. Pence, wearing a dark suit, white shirt and light blue tie, and with his left hand resting on a personal family bible and Ronald Reagan’s inauguration bible, both held by his wife Karen, followed Thomas’ prompts and said:

“I, Michael Richard Pence, do solemnly swear that I support and defend the Constitution of the Unites States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.”

The oath marked the next step in Pence’s political journey, which started with the first of six consecutive elections to Congress in 2000, and was followed by one term as Indiana’s 50th governor.

Upon completing the oath of office, Pence, 57, hugged his wife, son Michael and daughters Charlotte and Audrey, who had been seated behind him. Pence also shook the hands of outgoing President Barack Obama and outgoing Vice President Joe Biden. He then received congratulations from Donald Trump, who at 11:59 a.m. began his oath of office as the nation’s 45th president.

Among the estimated 1 million people expected to watch the presidential inauguration ceremony in person were additional Pence family members, including his mother and siblings, who were seated on the Capitol stage.

At one point during the ceremonies, and before Pence took his oath, Trump reached over with his right hand and tapped Pence’s left arm, as if to recognize the moment.

About 10 minutes later, Pence formally took his place as second in command of the United States.

Welcome to the VP’s hometown

New signs at two Columbus entryways are in place welcoming residents and visitors to the “Hometown of Michael R. Pence, United States Vice President.”

The signs were installed by 11:45 a.m. Friday, just about the time the Columbus native was sworn in as vice president in Washington, D.C.

Columbus’ Department of Public Works installed the signs, assisted by the Columbus Fire Department, which provided a ladder truck so workers could bolt the new signs onto the frames.

The Pence signs are below the “Columbus” sign, but above the one that notes the city is also home of motor sports champion and racing team owner Tony Stewart.

Public Works Director Bryan Burton is working with the Pence transition team to obtain permission to place the vice presidential seal on the sign, which will be done after the city receives federal approval.

The signs are on U.S. 31 at Lowell Road and on Jonathan Moore Pike on the city’s west side.

City Hall hosts viewing party

About 70 people gathered in the Cal Brand meeting room in Columbus City Hall on Friday to watch Columbus native and former Indiana Gov. Mike Pence be sworn in as vice president of the United States.

The city decided to live-stream the inauguration for its own staff over the lunch hour, and then invited the public to join them and view the ceremonies in the City Hall meeting room.

Slightly more than half were city employees and the remainder were visitors from the community, said Mary Ferdon, executive director of administration and community development.

Ferdon said one of her favorite parts of watching the inauguration was glimpsing Vice President Mike Pence’s family, including his mother Nancy Pence Fritsch and his other family members in the crowd behind the swearing-in ceremony.

“It was fun to have people here,” she said of the invite issued by City Hall.

Hoosiers toast Pence during Indiana Ball

Mike Pence thanked his Indiana supporters at the state’s inaugural ball on Thursday night, promising he will “bring Indiana’s example and Hoosier common sense” to Washington, the Associated Press reported.

The former Indiana governor addressed his home state’s inaugural ball on the eve of his swearing-in Friday as vice president. Pence said he and his family are grateful for his four years as governor, calling the inauguration a “bittersweet moment for us.”

The dinner featured members of the state’s congressional delegation and former Vice President Dan Quayle, a former congressman and senator representing Indiana. Quayle led the toast of the Trump-Pence ticket and the Pences danced to the Temptations’ “My Girl.”

About 40 Columbus residents attended the sold-out Indiana Society of Washington Inauguration Ball in Washington, D.C., with the delegation led by Barb Hackman, Bartholomew County Republican Party chairwoman. An Associated Press photographer took a photo of Hackman and her husband John as they chatted during the ball with Mike and Karen Pence, an image distributed worldwide.