Governor Shapiro Assumes Office by Pledging Oath on William Penn’s Bible and Playing the Official State Song at His Inaugural Ceremonies

Source: — Under The Dome™

Shapiro gets right with William Penn. Josh Shapiro is the latest governor to get right with William Penn. In an inaugural speech stressing the importance of toleration of others and fighting extremism, Shapiro invoked the name of Pennsylvania’s founder. “Our Commonwealth was founded on the promise of religious tolerance,” he said. “Pennsylvania, a place where Penn invited all to come and live and worship in peace and security.” Shapiro followed in the footsteps of his predecessors. Gov. Tom Corbett took the oath in 2011 with his hand on William Penn’s Bible. “It is fitting that I assume the office of governor pledging my oath on William Penn’s Bible,” he said. “As governor, I will lead each day grounded in the truth of Penn’s first chartered liberties and mindful of the role we have in democracy’s endurance.” In 1979 Gov. Dick Thornburgh also placed his hand on Penn’s Bible. “Three centuries ago our Commonwealth was but a dream in the mind of one man, the man whose Bible I took my oath of office today,” he said. Shapiro won’t have far to go to see one artist’s concept of Penn’s legacy – Violet Oakley’s celebrated murals in the Governor’s Reception Room. Penn’s work in founding Pennsylvania and promoting religious toleration was explored during two official commemorations in recent decades – the 300th anniversary of Pennsylvania’s founding in 1981 and the Tercentenary of Penn’s birth in 1944.

A story behind the official state song. “Pennsylvania”, the official state song, was played at Gov. Josh Shapiro’s inaugural ceremonies and left some surprised there is a state song. A few commented the state needs a new state song. ‘Pennsylvania”, written and composed by Eddie Khoury and Ronnie Bonner, is the official song for public purposes thanks to Act 150 of 1990. The path to getting a state song was a long and contentious one. There were many candidates for this honor. Many Pennsylvanians voiced strong opinions about the subject. At one point, a House committee held a public audition where aspiring songwriters assembled to sing for their candidate for the title.  Lawmakers suggested adopting old standards such as the “Pennsylvania Polka.” As the debate wore on, Rep. James Gallen, R-Berks, composed this ditty. “Without a song, we have no way to celebrate; Without a song, Pa. is out of date.” In the end, a select committee, including members of the Governor’s Council on the Arts and Pennsylvania Music Educators Association, made two recommendations including the one chosen from among 200 entries, according to the House Journal.