During Vice President Joe Biden’s Medal of Freedom ceremony on Jan. 12, people couldn’t help but notice that President Barack Obama gave a stern glance to the front row at one point. However, once they realized who he was looking at, it all made sense.
It turns out that the target of the glance was his daughter, Sasha, and the “dad look” he gave her was apparently in jest due to her absence from his farewell speech in Chicago on Jan. 10, reports the Daily Mail.
During her father’s farewell address, the 15-year-old remained back home in Washington, D.C., where she had an exam the following morning, the White House explained.
Sasha, 15, attends Sidwell Friends, a private school in the nation’s capital. According to the school’s website, ‘‘students must adhere to the published examination schedule. Absence for travel is not an adequate reason to re-schedule an exam.’’
Having the exam out of the way, Sasha was able to attend the Medal of Freedom ceremony along with her sister, Malia.
The 74-year-old Biden was caught totally by surprise with the award, which is the nation’s highest civilian honor.
Obama’s opening remarks were casual, and gave no hint of what was to come.
“I just wanted to get some folks together to pay tribute to somebody who has not only been by my side for the duration of this amazing journey, but somebody who has devoted his entire professional life to service to this country, the best Vice President America has ever had, Mr. Joe Biden,” he said.
Then he joked: “This also gives the Internet one last chance to talk about our bromance.”
But gradually he got around to the real reason for the event. “For the final time as President, I am pleased to award our nation’s highest civilian honor — the Presidential Medal of Freedom,” he announced.
Stunned, Biden briefly turned his back to the audience while he gained his composure, wiping his eyes with a handkerchief.
Obama continued: “And for the first and only time in my presidency, I will bestow this medal with an additional level of veneration, an honor my three most recent successors reserved for only three others: Pope John Paul II, President Ronald Reagan, and General Colin Powell. Ladies and gentlemen, I am proud to award the Presidential Medal of Freedom with Distinction to my brother, Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr.”
When Biden took to the podium for his acceptance speech, his first words were, “I don’t deserve this.”
During the course of his remarks, he referred to First Lady Michelle Obama as the finest first lady “that has ever served in this office.” Regarding Sasha and Malia, he said: “You are just incredible, you really are. That is not hyperbole.”
Sources: Daily Mail, White House / Photo credit: MediaPunch/AKM-GSI via Daily Mail