The large tome of a bible used in President Joe Biden’s swearing-in has deep ties with the Biden clan.
Of the many large milestones that the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris represented, it is in the subtle details that truly make the most profound statements. From the purple hues that many women wore that day representing the unity of the political parties, to Kamala Harris’ pearl necklace symboling strength in femininity, a particular one that had a deep familial level of personal ties is the bible that Joe Biden used as he swore his oath to serve the United States.
Carried by his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, during the swearing in, the massive leather-bound bible adorned with a Celtic cross has been passed on in the Biden family for over 127 years. The five-inch thick script has been with the family since 1893, which has also been used as a record keeper for Joe and his family’s political career. The same bible was used when he was sworn in as senator back in 1973, and twice again in his two terms as Vice President in 2009 and 2013. This tradition was also been adopted by his late son Beau when he took office as attorney general of the state of Delaware. Although departed, Beau’s presence at the inauguration was definitely felt with the presence of such a precious family heirloom.
Aside from his wife, other Biden family members in attendance at the solemn event included his children Ashley and Hunter; and granddaughters: Naomi, Finnegan, and Maisy. Also in attendance were his grandchildren through Beau: Natalie and Hunter II.
Joe Biden is only the second Catholic US president after John F. Kennedy. While swearing over a bible is not mandatory in the inauguration ceremonies, it has been tradition to use a sacred text of personal significance to the incoming president. Such is the significance of the bible Biden has chosen. “Every important date is in there,” Joe shares in an interview with Stephan Colbert back in December. “Every time I have been sworn in anything, the date has been inscribed in the bible.” Sharing that the bible has served as a date chronicler of their family’s milestones. And now, with its latest addition: January 20, 2021.
Featured image from Josh Haner/The New York Times