By Julie Pace, AP White House Correspondent
WASHINGTON (AP) — On the cusp of his second term, President Barack Obama solemnly honored the nation’s fallen soldiers Sunday before taking the oath of office in an intimate White House ceremony, a swearing-in ritual he will repeat Monday morning before a massive crowd at the Capitol.
Sunday’s events began with a morning swearing-in ceremony for Vice President Joe Biden, committing him to four more years as the nation’s second in command. Biden then joined the president at Arlington National Cemetery for a wreath-laying ceremony on a crisp, sun-splashed January day.
Obama and Biden jointly placed a large wreath, adorned with red, white and blue ribbon, in front of Arlington’s Tomb of the Unknowns. Placing their hands over their hearts, the two leaders stood solemnly as a bugle played “Taps.”
From there, Obama joined his family at a church service in downtown Washington celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. The president’s public swearing-in on Monday coincides with the national holiday marking the fallen civil rights leader’s birthday, and Obama has invoked King’s memory throughout the lead-up to the inauguration.