Joe Biden’s Inauguration Bible Has More Meaning Than You Realize

When President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in as the nation’s 46th president on Jan. 20, he will do so on a Bible of great significance. It will be the Biden family Bible, which Biden has used for each of his inaugurations as senator and vice president; his late son Beau also used the family Bible for his swearing-in as Delaware’s 44th attorney general (via Business Insider). Joe Biden will be the nation’s second Catholic president, taking office 60 years after John F. Kennedy Jr. won the presidency in 1960.

Joe Biden’s inauguration Bible is a massive tome, measuring five inches thick. The giant heirloom came into the family’s possession in 1893 and bears a Celtic cross on the cover (per USA Today). It was last used in 2013 when Biden was sworn in as VP for a second time, that time with Supreme Court Justice Sonya Sotomayor administering the oath of office. Dr. Jill Biden held the Bible between them, with the Biden family gathered at the Naval Observatory residence in Washington D.C.

In less than a week, Jill Biden will once again hold the Biden family Bible aloft as Joe Biden places his left hand on the Bible, raises his right and pledges his oath: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

Joe Biden will forgo this other family tradition on Inauguration Day amid heightened security

While Biden’s family Bible will most certainly be present on Inauguration Day, another meaningful tradition for Joe Biden and his family will not. As CNN first reported, amid dramatically heightened security in Washington D.C. following the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol, Biden will no longer take the Amtrak from Delaware to Washington for his swearing-in as was originally planned.

Per The Associated Press, Biden’s agreement to forgo the train ride cannot have been an easy one for him. The president-elect famously rode the rails for decades, taking some 8,000 trips between Wilmington and Washington, earning the nickname “Amtrak Joe” (per CNN). In fact, on his final day as vice president, Biden chose to take the train home. How meaningfully full-circle would it have been for him to be able to ride it again, this time to his own swearing-in as president of the United States.

Over the weekend, however, the FBI had sent out a bulletin warning of plans for armed protests across all 50 states and Washington in the days leading up to the inauguration (via the AP). On Monday, Joe Biden said that he was nevertheless determined to take his oath, sworn in on his family’s Bible, in public. He said, “I’m not afraid of taking the oath outside.” Non-scalable seven-foot fencing now surrounds the Capitol and officials say “upwards of beyond 20,000” National Guard members will be deployed to secure the capital city for Inauguration Day (per NPR).

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