On Tuesday, January 19th, the night before the inauguration, 400 lights were lit around the perimeter of the Lincoln Memorial’s reflecting pool. These lights serve as a memorial for the 400,000 lives that have been lost to COVID-19. According to Johns Hopkins University, the United States already has 401,288 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic and the 400 lights serve to honor these lives.
This memorial service and light display are hosted by President-elect Joe Biden, who will be inaugurated today, Wednesday, January 20th. Lori Marie Key, a Michigan nurse who has been on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, introduced Biden at the memorial and sang “Amazing Grace.” In addition, Yolanda Adams sang “Hallelujah” as the lights were turned on. While he has not been president during this pandemic, this is one of the many ways that Biden will honor the ones that have lost their lives. He has stated that he has a plan to also start a massive economic stimulus plan and mass distribute vaccinations.
At the memorial, Biden was joined by his wife Jill Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and her husband Dough Emhoff. During the ceremony, Biden said, “To heal, we must remember. It’s hard sometimes to remember, but that is how we heal. It is important to do that as a nation.”
Across the nation, cities both small and large are finding ways to honor the lives that have been lost to COVID-19. For example, the Empire State Building in New York City has lights that flash like a red heartbeat to the song “Empire State of Mind”. From Seattle to Houston to even small towns, America is finding ways to mourn and heal during this time. There were also memorials in Biden’s hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania, and Wilmington, Delaware additionally.