"This helmet was worn by a hero who actually came from Detroit and rushed to the towers after 9/11 and helped clean up the pile and everything like that, and he passed away in 2011 of lung cancer," said Schumer, holding up an orange hard-hat adorned with stickers and magazine cut-outs. "So he symbolizes the sacrifices that our people are willing to make for freedom, and freedom is personified as the peaceful passing of the torch, which we do at the inauguration.
"And the hammer has been used by a carpenter at the very top of the Freedom Tower," Schumer continued, referring to the new structure being built at the site where the World Trade Center towers collapsed during the 9/11 terrorist attacks. "It's a lesson to the terrorists who thought that once they did their dastardly deed that America and particularly New York would fold up and die and now we have the Freedom Tower rising higher than ever."
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.