Flash of Tradition 

Virginia welcomes its new governors with a fleeting rite of passage that is long on memories.

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Former Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell is scheduled to stand on the steps of the Virginia Capitol on Saturday, Jan. 16. At the stroke of noon, he'll be asked to raise his right hand and swear to uphold the United States and Virginia constitutions. At that moment he joins the ranks of the commonwealth's most exclusive club, joining eight men still living who have served as governor.

Virginia's gubernatorial tradition had auspicious beginnings in 1776 when Patrick Henry became the state's first governor after it threw off the crown. He was followed by Thomas Jefferson, who became the third U.S. president. Two other former governors, James Monroe and John Tyler, also went to the White House.

At various times since their inaugurations, Edwin Slipek Jr., Style Weekly senior contributing editor, has spoken with the eight governors. They reveal nostalgic and even mischievous memories of their own big days in Januaries past.

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A. Linwood Holton
South Portico of the Capitol
Jan. 17, 1970



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Charles S. Robb
North Side of the Capitol
Jan. 16, 1982



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Gerald L. Baliles
North Side of the Capitol
Jan. 15, 1986




L. Douglas Wilder
North Side of the Capitol
Jan. 13, 1990



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George F. Allen
Swearing-in, speech on South Portico of the Capitol. Parade review on the North Side of Capitol
January 15, 1994



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James S. Gilmore
South Portico of the Capitol
January 17, 1998



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Mark R. Warner
South Portico of the Capitol
January 12, 2002



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Timothy M. Kaine
The Capitol, Colonial Williamsburg
January 14, 2006



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