Obama to Use Lincoln's Bible for Inauguration

Bible is housed in Library of Congress

President-elect Barack Obama will use the same Bible that Abraham Lincoln used at his inauguration when he takes the oath of office in January.

Obama will be the first president since Lincoln to use the Bible, which was given to the Library of Congress by the widow of Robert Todd Lincoln in 1928. Robert Todd Lincoln was the only child of Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln who survived to adulthood.

The burgundy, velvet Bible with gilded edges was purchased and inscribed by William Thomas Carroll, clerk of the Supreme Court, with the words:

"I, William Thomas Carroll, clerk of the said court do hereby certify that the preceding copy of the Holy Bible is that upon which the Honble. R. B. Taney, Chief Justice of the said Court, administered to His Excellency, Abraham Lincoln, the oath of office as President of the United States ..."

According to Clark Evans, Senior Reference Librarian for the Rare Book and Special Collections Division at the Library of Congress, the book will be accompanied by an armed escort during its time away from the Library. He also said that special arrangements are being worked out to protect the Bible should the weather during President-Elect Obama's Inauguration become threatening.

And, for the history buffs:

For those who wonder why we have to inaugurate the new president during the coldest part of the year, blame the Constitution. With the ratification of the 20th Amendment, the date was moved back from March 4 to January 20 in 1937. Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the first president to take the oath of office in January.

Following the oath and "Hail to the Chief" comes a 21-gun salute provided by Howitzers of the Presidential Salute Battery, 3rd United States Infantry Regiment, also known as The Old Guard.

Why 21? Add up the numbers in the year of America's independence: 1+7+7+6 = 21.

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