A relic of a president who sought to bring unity to a divided nation and a gift from Donald Trump’s mother will be with the president-elect Friday as he takes the oath of office.
The Presidential Inaugural Committee announced Tuesday that Trump will be sworn in as the nation’s 45th president using two Bibles. One of the Bibles was used by Abraham Lincoln in 1861 when he took the oath of office as the nation was drifting into civil war. The other Bible to be used was presented to Trump as a boy by his mother.
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“In his first inaugural address, President Lincoln appealed to the ‘better angels of our nature,’” inauguration committee chair Tom Barrack said in a statement.
“As he takes the same oath of office 156 years later, President-elect Trump is humbled to place his hand on Bibles that hold special meaning both to his family and to our country,” the chairman added.
Trump’s mother, Mary Anne, gave Trump his personal Bible on June 12, 1955, when he graduated from Sunday Church Primary School at First Presbyterian Church in Queens. Trump was two days away form his ninth birthday at the time.
Trump’s boyhood Bible is a Revised Standard Version dating from 1953 with his name imprinted on the front cover and signed by officials of the church. Trump’s mother, who was born in Scotland, died in 2000.
The Lincoln Bible, which is kept in the Library of Congress, was also used for President Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2009 and 2013.
The Lincoln Bible “was purchased for the first inauguration of President Abraham Lincoln by William Thomas Carroll, Clerk of the Supreme Court,” the inaugural committee said in a statement. “The Bible is bound in burgundy velvet with a gold-washed white metal rim along the edges of the covers.”
Lincoln’s March 4, 1861, inauguration came only six weeks before the firing on Fort Sumter in Charleston, S.C., at the start of the Civil War.
Unity was a strong theme of Lincoln’s address.
“We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies,” Lincoln said then. “Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection.”
“The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature,” Lincoln said as he closed his speech.
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