For the first time ever, the Empire State Building honors the U.S. Presidential inauguration by shining its world-famous tower lights in patriotic red, white and blue on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009, to celebrate President Barack Obama.
The inauguration lighting signifies the culmination of The Empire State Building’s Presidential celebration. The 2008 election season marked the first time the iconic building honored a U.S. presidential election with a four-night lighting by reminding people to vote leading up to the election, splitting its lights between Democrat blue and Republican red on election day, and honoring Obama’s win with an all blue lighting following the election.
“Due to the anticipation of this year’s presidential inauguration and the great response the election lighting received, the Empire State Building will celebrate Barack Obama’s inauguration with a red, white, and blue lighting,” James Connors, general manager for the Empire State Building, said in a statement. “With the Empire State Building lighting, we aim to celebrate democracy and honor the new Presidency, as well as contribute to the 2009 inauguration excitement.”
Brief History of Empire State Building Lighting:
+ In 1932, a searchlight beacon alerting people for 50 miles that Franklin D. Roosevelt had been elected president of the United States was the first light to shine on top of the Empire State Building.
+ In 1976, colored lighting was first introduced and the tower was lit in red, white and blue to celebrate the American Bicentennial.
+ The Empire State Building’s tower lights are internationally recognized and are illuminated to commemorate holidays, events and causes that are of importance to New Yorkers, Americans and citizens of the world. An ESB lighting celebrates remarkable events, iconic traditions or significant anniversaries, such as E.U. Day, Lunar New Year, Earth Day, Veteran’s Day and many more.