Pledging to use the "plain wisdom and common sense" of everyday Americans, Vice President Dan Quayle gave his own unofficial inaugural speech Saturday urging a return to the bedrock ideals of faith, family, freedom and compassion.
He spoke at "An American Tribute to Democracy" in Constitution Hall, where the Mormon Tabernacle Choir set the stage with nine major numbers, including the stirring "Story of the Battle Hymn of the Republic," narrated by Salt Lake actor Wilford Brimley.Steve Studdert, the Utahn who headed President Bush's inaugural committee, said vice presidents don't give inaugural speeches, but the Tribute to Democracy was designed to give Quayle the opportunity to speak - and to spotlight the choir in a celebration of democracy.
Quayle said - as he had earlier this week - that he was happy to have survived the negative press that dogged him during the campaign.
"Winston Churchill once said, `Nothing in life is so exhilarating as to be shot at without result.' Well, here I am and, boy, does it feel good.
"And now that I'm here alive and well, I'll try to live up to Mark Twain's admonition. He said, `Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.' Well, I can tell you I'm looking forward to providing some gratification and some astonishment over the next EIGHT years," he said to wild cheers.
He repeated Bush's call for a kinder, gentler nation and added that America must renew the bedrock values that his parents taught him, including, "Lessons about love of God, love of family and love of country; about loyalty and integrity; about kindness and honesty; about hard work and self-discipline; and about the difference of good and bad, right from wrong, truth from falsehood."
He added, "The Bush-Quayle administration will be judged by how well it does in securing the blessings of liberty for ourselves and extending those blessings to others."
Starring with Quayle at the event was the Tabernacle Choir, which performed for more than an hour with such patriotic standards as "You're a Grand Old Flag" and "America the Beautiful." It even accompanied U.S. House Minority Leader Robert Michel, R-Ill., in singing "God Bless America."
Brimley narrated the "Story of the Battle Hymn of the Republic" in his homespun drawl that made him a star in such movies as "The Natural" and "The Electric Horseman."
Also performing at the event was the U.S. Air Force Band, which is conducted by a native Utahn, Lt. Col. James M. Bankhead, a graduate of Utah State University.
Inaugural activities will continue Sunday, which was declared a national day of prayer and thanksgiving.
And among the official activities Sunday will be the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's regular "Music and the Spoken Word" broadcast on the CBS radio network. Elder John K. Carmack, a member of the church's First Quorum of Seventy, was scheduled to give the short talk during the broadcast, which will also be from Constitution Hall.
Choir members have had an extremely busy schedule of rehearsals and performances but finally had some time for a quick tour of the major monuments in Washington on Saturday morning.
Members said the highlight so far was when they sang "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" for Bush at the end of the Inaugural Parade.
"He sang along with us. He kind of waved and wiped away a tear," said Dee Hemeyer of Sandy, a new choir member.
"Singing for the president was very impressive. He seemed very appreciative," said choir member Douglas Keeler of Bountiful.
The choir wasn't the only Utah group still celebrating the inauguration on Saturday. Cloggers USA, a dance group from Utah County, also performed in the first inaugural event ever planned specifically for children, a pageant called "From George to George - 200 years."
Those in the audience included Barbara Bush and Marilyn Quayle, with many of their children and grandchildren.
Brimley also performed there, acting as the master of ceremonies. He introduced the cloggers, saying, "Here's a group from my country, from Utah County and the shadow of the Wasatch Mountains - Cloggers USA."
The group's foot-stomping, high-spirited style of dancing received about the loudest applause of any group - but dance members said it still wasn't the highlight of the trip. That, for most, also came the night before in the inaugural parade.
"When we passed the president, he was waving and clapping," said group member Jenny Gregory.