Shortly after the US reached 400,000 COVID-19 deaths, On Tuesday night, now President Joe Biden joined with now Vice President Kamala Harris to honor and memorialize those who lost their lives to the deadly virus, according to CNN.
“To heal, we must remember,” he said at the Lincoln Memorial on Tuesday. “And it is hard sometimes to remember, but that’s how we heal. It is important to do that as a nation. That is why we are here today. Between sundown and dusk, let us shine the lights in the darkness along this sacred pool of reflection and remember all who we have lost.”
In his speech, he empathized with the American public in his personal grief when he lost his first wife and daughter in a car accident as a young man, then later his son Beau to cancer at the age of 46.
To commemorate the 400,000 people who have died from COVID-19, 400 lanterns were lighted along the edges of the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool.
Across the country, fellow mourners grieved the losses by lighting up buildings. Cardinal Wilton Gregory, archbishop of Washington, gave the invocation and gospel singer Yolanda Adams sang “Hallelujah” after Biden’s speech.
Harris urged unity and hope in her brief speech.
“For many months, we have grieved by ourselves. Tonight, we grieve and begin healing together,” she said. “Though we may be physically separated, we, the American people, are united in spirit and my abiding hope, my abiding prayer, is that we emerge from this ordeal with a new wisdom: to cherish simple moments, to imagine new possibilities and to open our hearts just a little bit more to one another.”
The President-elect came to Washington earlier this week to begin the inauguration ceremonies. He thanked his home state of Delaware in an emotional speech and gave a moving tribute to his son, Beau.
“I’ll always be a proud son of the state of Delaware,” he said. “Excuse the emotion, but when I die, Delaware will be written on my heart and the hearts of all of us—all the Bidens. We love you all. You’ve been there for us in the good and the bad.”
President Trump decided to forgo the traditional welcome of the incoming President and first lady. He will receive his own sendoff from the White House with a red carpet, Color Guard, and a 21-gun-salute.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla/Staff
Mikaela Mathews is a freelance writer and editor based in Dallas, TX. She was the editor of a local magazine and a contributing writer for the Galveston Daily News and Spirit Magazine.