The first inaugural activity in Washington, DC will be a memorial at the Lincoln Memorial reflecting pool for the 400,000 victims of COVID-19.
January 19, 2021

President-elect Joe Biden and VP-elect Kamala Harris will participate in a lighting of the Lincoln Memorial reflecting pool -- the first ever -- in a memorial to the victims of COVID-19. 400 columns of light will represent the 400,000 deaths. On this last day of Trump's presidency, 400,000 souls have been lost to the virus, with little to no acknowledgment by the outgoing administration. Today's ceremony signifies a change in attitude and policies.

Harris' remarks:

Thank you, Cardinal Gregory, for that beautiful prayer.

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.

And for many months, we have grieved by ourselves.

Tonight, we grieve —and begin healing — together.

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 more, to one another.

It is now my honor to introduce Lori Marie Key.

Lori is a nurse at St. Mary Mercy Livonia hospital outside Detroit. Her community was hit hard when the virus struck, and Lori was assigned to the COVID unit.

Lori is known for singing on the hospital floor. And a video of her singing a certain hymn inspired our nation.

She joins us this evening to honor those we’ve lost with that same hymn:

“Amazing Grace.”

Biden's remarks:

Thank you, Lori. As I said to His Eminence, and I mean this from the bottom of my heart, if there are any angels in Heaven they are all nurses. We know from our family experience the courage and pain you observe for others. Thank you.

Your Eminence, Cardinal Gregory, and Yolanda Adams, thank you.

To heal, we must remember.

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.

And here is Yolanda Adams singing "Hallelujah".

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