National Cathedral Rings Bell 500 Times in Honor of 500,000 Americans Who Have Died from COVID-19

Crystal A. Dixon | Contributor | Wednesday, February 24, 2021
National Cathedral Rings Bell 500 Times in Honor of 500,000 Americans Who Have Died from COVID-19

National Cathedral Rings Bell 500 Times in Honor of 500,000 Americans Who Have Died from COVID-19

The carillon bells of the Washington National Cathedral rang 500 times on Monday, one time for every 1,000 Americans who have died from COVID-19.

Known as the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul in the City, the cathedral livestreamed Monday’s ceremony. Individuals from various religious backgrounds participated in the services with prayers and reflections.

Provost of the National Cathedral, Rev. Canon Jan Naylor Cope, read a passage from the Book of Common Prayer. “We thank you for giving them to us,” she read, “to know and to love as companions on our earthly pilgrimage.”

“In your boundless compassion, console us who mourn. Give us faith to see in death the gate of eternal life so that in quiet confidence we may continue our course on earth, until, by your call, we are reunited with those who have gone before, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

The Cathedral expounded in a statement below the ceremony video posted on YouTube, writing, “This gesture cannot replace the lives lost, but we hope it will help each American mourn the toll of this pandemic.”

According to The Christian Post, the national church rang its bells in December 300 times when the U.S. death toll, from the pandemic, reached 300,000.

At that time, Rev. Randolph Marshall Hollerith, Cathedral Dean said, “the climbing death toll from this pandemic seems disturbingly routine.”

“I have grown weary of tolling this bell. I don’t want to toll this bell anymore. I don’t want to lose any more lives. I don’t want us to think this is normal or that it is just the price we must pay for living in a free society,” stated Hollerith.

“We have reached the point in America where the death toll from COVID-19 for just one day was the equivalent of 16 fully loaded 737 jets falling from the sky.”

Meanwhile, at the White House on Monday evening, President Biden issued a statement and a moment of silence for the more than 500,000 lives lost to COVID-19.

“This nation will smile again. This nation will know sunny days again. This nation will know joy again.  And as we do, we will remember each person we’ve lost, the lives they lived, the loved ones they left behind,” Biden stated.

“We will get through this, I promise you.  But my heart aches for you — those of you who are going through it right now. May God bless you all, particularly those who have lost someone.  God bless you.”

Pictures captured by WTOP news show people gathering near the cathedral as the bells tolled, some embracing each other as they listened.

Kelley Ellsworth, a Washington D. C. resident, stopped to reflect on the number of lives lost.

“I think we all go about our lives and suffer through it as much as we can, and we don’t take stock of what’s happened and stand back for a minute and take it in,” Ellsworth told WTOP.

You can watch the Cathedral’s live-streamed video in its entirety here.

Photo courtesy: Cbhagman/Pixabay

Video courtesy: Washington National Cathedral

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