Joe Biden's tribute to covid victims: 400 lights turned on as a memorial to those who have died

Wednesday, 20 January 2021 - 14:17

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In a somber ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial on Tuesday night that was his first stop in Washington, President-elect Joe Biden signaled that honoring that grief and the terrible toll of the last year would be at the very heart of his administration.

US President-elect Joe Biden led a simple but powerful tribute Tuesday to the 400,000-plus Americans lost to the coronavirus, as he arrived in Washington on the eve of his inauguration.

"Let us shine the lights in the darkness along the sacred pool of reflection and remember all who we have lost," the 78-year-old Democrat said as 400 lights lining the water were turned on as a memorial to those who have died.

Church bells pealed across Washington, while lights on New Yorks' Empire State Building glowed red, resembling a beating heart.

He and his wife, Jill Biden, watched in silence, alongside Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, as the reflections of the lights glimmered in the water.


Hundreds of towns, cities and communities across the country joined in the tribute, lighting up buildings from the Empire State Building in New York to the Space Needle in Seattle. Cardinal Wilton Gregory, the archbishop of Washington, delivered the invocation and gospel singer Yolanda Adams performed "Hallelujah" after Biden spoke.

Harris spoke briefly at the memorial, noting that "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 bit more to one another," Harris said.

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