Today President Obama and Vice President Biden, two men who serve the country together will take the Oath of Office officially for the second time separately after they each observe their religious traditions.
The Constitution requires that the swearing in take place on January 20 before noon. Because the date fell on a Sunday, organizers decided to have a ceremonial swearing in for the public to witness on the following day, which coincidentally falls on MLK Day.
Vice Pres. Biden was the first to be reinstated as the co-leader of the nation at 8:21 a.m. at the Naval Observatory where he resides, following a mass held there with 120 friends and family members. Biden selected Associate Justice Sonya Sotomayor to officiate the ceremony. She is the first Hispanic and fourth female judge to administer an oath of office.
O'Brien, the clergyman in attendance, prayed that Biden would always know the presence of God and "do what is right" as he took the "sacred oath."
On Monday, Vice President Biden will be sworn in using the same bible he used today, the Biden Family Bible, which is five inches thick, has a Celtic cross on the cover and has been in the Biden family since 1893. He has used it every time he was sworn in as a US Senator and when he was sworn in as Vice President in 2009. His son Beau used it when he was sworn in as Delaware’s attorney general.
Before he is sworn in today, President Obama and family will attend morning service at the historic Metropilitan AME Church. The Constitution requires that the president takes his oath in the Blue Room of the White House, where the setting is expected to be very intimate. The President will use The Robinson Family Bible for his official reinstatement. During the ceremonial swearing in on the steps of the Capitol, President Obama will lay his hand on the Bible used by Abaramah Lincoln and the travel Bible of Civil Rights icon Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
President Obmama will once again be sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts.
According to the Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC) there is no constitutional requirement for the use of a Bible during the swearing-in, Presidents have traditionally used Bibles for the ceremony, choosing a volume with personal or historical significance. In 2009, President Obama became the first President sworn in using the Lincoln Bible since its initial use in 1861.
The slection of the The Robinson Family Bible was selected specifically for the occasion. The bible was a gift from the First Lady’s father, Fraser Robinson III, to his mother, LaVaughn Delores Robinson on Mother’s Day in 1958. Mrs. Robinson was the first African-American woman manager of a Moody Bible Institute’s bookstore and she used the Bible regularly.
The Lincoln Bible is part of the collections of the Library of Congress and was originally purchased by William Thomas Carroll, Clerk of the Supreme Court, for use during Lincoln’s swearing-in ceremony on March 4, 1861. The Bible itself is bound in burgundy velvet with a gold-washed white metal rim around the three outside edges of both covers, and all of its edges are heavily gilded.
“We know our father would be deeply moved to see President Obama take the Oath of Office using his bible,” Dr. King’s children said today. “His ‘traveling bible’ inspired him as he fought for freedom, justice and equality, and we hope it can be a source of strength for the President as he begins his second term. With the Inauguration less than two weeks away, we join Americans across the country in embracing this opportunity to celebrate how far we have come, honor the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. through service, and rededicate ourselves to the work ahead.”
The leaders will also met at the Arlington National Cemetary to lay a wreath at the tomb of the unknown together. They will be joined by Major General Linnington as "Taps" plays.
Approximately 800,000 are expected to witness the ceremonial re-enactment of the Inauguration tomorrow