Though the grand show on the national mall to mark US president Barack Obama's second inauguration is set for Monday, officially he began his second innings with a quiet ceremony at the White House Sunday.
Obama was officially sworn in for a second four-year term by the Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts at a small White House ceremony. Surrounded by family, friends and staff, in the Blue Room, Obama placed his hand on the historic Robinson family bible, selected specifically for the occasion, and recited the 35-word presidential oath written in the Constitution.
"I Barack Hussein Obama do solemnly swear 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," he said.
Obama's first term ended at noon under the Constitution. First Lady Michelle Obama held the bible with daughter Malia standing alongside. The Robinson Family Bible was selected specifically for the occasion. The bible was a gift from the First Lady's father, Fraser Robinson III, to his mother, LaVaughn Delores Robinson on Mother's Day in 1958. Robinson was the first African-American woman manager of a Moody Bible Institute's bookstore and she used the Bible regularly.
As per the 20th amendment to the US Constitution, which changed the beginning of a presidential term from March 4 to January 20, the term of the newly-elected president begins at noon on January 20. However, historically, inaugural ceremonies are not held on a Sunday because courts and other public institutions are not open.
As a result, in accordance with the requirements of the US Constitutions, Obama and vice-president Joe Biden were officially sworn in on Sunday, but the ceremonial swearing in, which is open to the public, will take place on the west steps of the US Capitol on Monday. This would be only the seventh time in the US history that a president will take the oath ceremonially on Monday following an Inauguration Day that fell on a Sunday.
Biden was the first to be sworn in on his family bible by the Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor at his official residence at Naval Observatory. She was the first Hispanic and fourth female judge to administer an oath of office. Soon thereafter, Biden joined Obama to lay wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown at Arlington National Cemetery.
"The president and vice-president were joined by Major General Linnington to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns," a White House official said.