Charles S. Robb 

North Side of the Capitol, Jan. 16, 1982

“I carried, but did not wear, a top hat, nor did Jerry or Dick,” former Sen. Charles S. Robb says of his inauguration and that of the Lt. Gov. Gerald Baliles and Attorney General Richard Davis. “I had worn hats for many years in the military. I don't wear hats.”
 

 

click to enlarge feat02_robb_b_400.jpg

Guests await the Robb inaugural party Jan. 16, 1982, on the north side of the Capitol.

Robb, for the first time, moved the inaugural swearing-in to the north side of the Capitol — “to accommodate more people,” he says. “I prefer the south side and struggled to keep it there — it is much prettier.”

“One fellow, a Marine officer who had served with me, drove all the way from Iowa for the inauguration,” he says. “At least he got to see the activity.”

Other aspects of his inauguration reflected his Marine career. In addition to inviting the Mount Vernon High School band, representing his alma mater, to march in the parade, he asked the U.S. Marine Drum and Bugle Corps to participate in both the parade and at the single, highly staged inaugural ball, which was held at the Richmond Coliseum that night.

Richmonders had never witnessed such an extravaganza with dramatic, announced entrances by dignitaries, red carpets and sweeping spotlights. “These Texans know how to spruce up a cow palace,” one attendee quipped, referring to the new first lady, Texan Lynda Johnson Robb, daughter of President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Robb acknowledges to treading lightly when purchasing clothes for his wife, but says that he made an exception for their big night. “For the inaugural I gave Lynda a beautiful dress. It was red and gold — sort of marine colors. The ball was also the first time I had danced with all three of my daughters.”

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