January 21 is Martin Luther King’s birthday.
Yesterday, by law, President Obama was sworn in as President. This took place in the White House. Today, he will be sworn in again in front of an expected 800,000 people, down from 2,000,000 in 2009.
A “third” inauguration has happened twice before, both in second inaugurals: Eisenhower’s in 1957 and Reagan’s in 1985. In both cases, January 20 was on a Sunday.
Obama will swear on Martin Luther King’s personal Bible. He will also swear on the Bible Lincoln used at his first inauguration. (The Bible used at the second inaugural has been lost.)
Yesterday, he used a family Bible.
In 2009, he used Lincoln’s Bible. That was the first time any President used that Bible for his swearing in.
It is interesting that there is nothing in the Constitution about swearing in or Bibles. Both traditions were invented by George Washington. He used a Masonic Bible. Four others have used the same Bible: Harding, Eisenhower (1953), Carter, and George H. W. Bush.