Days before they say goodbye to the White House, President Obama and Vice President Biden held a quaint gathering for what was described as a final tribute to the vice president. However, the event ended with a shocked Biden receiving the nation’s highest civilian honor: the Presidential Medal of Freedom, conferred with distinction.
The Jan. 12 ceremony honored Vice President Biden’s eight years of service, beginning with a heartfelt tribute from President Obama to one of his closest friends and confidants in Washington. As he finished his remarks, the president asked one of his military aides to come to the stage, holding the medal with a confused Biden standing by.
“For the final time as president,” Obama began, “I am pleased to award our nation’s highest civilian honor…”
Biden immediately turned his back towards the crowd, wiping his tearful eyes and face with his handkerchief. After receiving what could be one of the most prestigious awards of his political career, Biden was completely taken aback, as his words go to show.
“I had no inkling,” the vice president said, “I thought we were going… to toast one another and say what an incredible journey it has been.”
“I don’t deserve this,” he said repeatedly, “I don’t deserve this, but I know it came from the president’s heart.”
Indeed, it was quite a bittersweet moment for the two, whose close friendship has awed and entertained America for eight years. Though they will no longer be spending their days running around the White House or playing basketball with their matching friendship bracelets, their enduring brotherhood will surely last a lifetime.