Biden buries the hatchet -- literally

In which Joe Biden goes home to ride in a horse-drawn carriage and eat some delicious ox roast sandwiches.

Published November 7, 2008 2:40PM (EST)

Joe Biden returned home Thursday afternoon to take part in "Return Day," a political rally that encourages bipartisan reconciliation, fosters a general spirit of goodwill and involves a hatchet.

Return Day has been a tradition for a little over 200 years -- ever since the Sussex County seat was moved to Georgetown and voters got in the habit of convening at the courthouse two days after an election to find out who won. In its modern iteration, the event begins with a parade during which successful candidates and their defeated opponents ride together in horse-drawn carriages.

After the parade Biden and Christine O'Connell, a Republican who unsuccessfully challenged him in this year's race for his Senate seat, took part in the "Burial of the Tomahawk," a delightfully literal-minded ceremony in which a hatchet is, well, buried. Then a town crier read the election results to the assembled crowd and everyone ate ox roast sandwiches (exactly what they sound like).

ABC News reported that the Return Day crowd was unusually large, and mildly annoyed about the security measures being taken to protect the  vice president-elect and the bad weather. Undaunted by the rain, Biden was his normal effusive self.

"It's been an honor representing you, and thank you," he told the crowd. "I'm still at this moment and continue to be Senator Joe Biden, the proudest title I've ever had, representing the state of Delaware. I love you, thank you very, very, very, very much."

The Delawareans cheered.

"Feels good," he said. "It feels good to be home."

It probably did.

By Andrew Burmon

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