As President Obama takes his oath of office for the second time on Jan. 21, he’ll do so with his hand resting comfortably on a piece of American history. The POTUS has chosen to use Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.‘s personal traveling Bible during the swearing-in ceremony, in addition to one owned by Abraham Lincoln.
Inaugural planners say Obama will place his left hand on the stacked Bibles held by First Lady Michelle Obama as he raises his right hand to repeat the oath administered by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts. Not only will the symbolic gesture be fitting for MLK Day, but for a pair of unforgettable moments in our nation’s history.
“On the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, this historic moment is a reflection of the extraordinary progress we’ve made as a nation,” said Steve Kerrigan, head of the Presidential Inaugural Committee.
King’s children say their father’s Bible was grouped together in a collection of books he carried with him while on the road and used its scriptures for inspiration and in preparation for his sermons and speeches.
“We know our father would be deeply moved to see President Obama take the oath of office using his Bible,” the children said in a statement. “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.”
Obama plans to honor the legacy of King throughout the inaugural weekend, displaying a float after the ceremony in remembrance of the civil rights leader. He has also asked Americans to volunteer in their communities on Jan. 19; the King family plans to participate.