Washington (US): US President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on Tuesday (local time) paid tribute to the thousands of lives lost to the COVID-19 pandemic at a memorial held by the reflecting pool at the Lincoln Memorial at the National Mall in Washington.
“To heal, we must remember,” the President-elect said. “It is hard sometimes to remember, but that is 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 with this sacred pool of reflection and remember all that we have lost.”
Biden and Harris held their first inauguration-related event in Washington on Tuesday night (local time). They were accompanied by their spouses, the incoming first lady, and gentleman Jill Biden and Doug Emhoff.
Speaking at the memorial, Harris said she hopes Americans emerge from the ordeal of the pandemic “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.”
“We gather tonight, a nation in mourning, to pay tribute to the lives we have lost: a grandmother or grandfather who was our whole world; a parent, partner, sibling or friend who we still cannot accept is no longer here,” she said. “And for many months, we have grieved by ourselves. Tonight, we grieve and begin healing together.”
There are 400 lights illuminating the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool in tribute to the more than 400,000 people who have lost their lives due to COVID-19 in the US, CNN reported.
Hundreds of towns, cities, and communities across the country plan to join in the solemn tribute with lighting ceremonies of their own at buildings from the Empire State Building in New York to the Space Needle in Seattle, Washington.
Washington Archbishop Wilton Gregory, who in November became the first Black American to earn the rank of cardinal, delivered the invocation. Gospel singer Yolanda Adams sang “Hallelujah,” and Lori Marie Key, a COVID-19 ward nurse from Michigan, sang “Amazing Grace.” Key gained national attention last year when a video of her singing the hymn during a hospital shift change went viral, Washington Post reported.