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July 26, 2021

Washington's Inauguration

It was April 30, 1789, in New York City. Moments before the inauguration of the first president of the United States someone realized … no one had brought a Bible. Jacob Morton, the Marshal of the inaugural parade, and the Master of a nearby Freemason Lodge, ran down the street, and grabbed the Bible from the Lodge’s altar. The Bible arrived just in time. After placing his hand on the ornate King James edition and taking the oath, President George Washington kissed the Bible. That Bible is now known simply as the “Washington Bible.” It still belongs to the Freemasons, who allow it to be used for special occasions and exhibits. It has been used at four presidential inaugurations: Harding, Eisenhower, Carter, and George H. W. Bush. Both Harding and Carter laid their hands on the words of Micah 6:8, which read: “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” Appropriate verses to choose from a Bible associated with Washington, who resisted accepting the presidency and wanted a quiet funeral. Against the great American statesman’s wishes, a stately funeral was conducted for him … and you can undoubtedly guess what Bible was used.

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