With the number of deaths surpassing 400,000 today, 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…Between sundown and dusk, let us shine the lights and the darkness the sacred pool of reflection to remember all we lost.”
He and Jill Biden, along with Kamala Harris and Doug Emhoff, then stared out at the memorial reflecting pool, where rows of white rectangular monoliths lined the edges to signify the lives lost.
“Tonight, we grieve and begin healing, together,” Harris said. “Though we may be physically separated, we the American people are united in spirit.”
The ceremony was a contrast to past inaugurations, in that so few people were present at the site because of security precautions that have largely sealed off the National Mall. But the ceremony was planned even before the siege of the Capitol, signaling Biden’s commitment to getting the virus under control and his empathy toward those whose lives have been upended by it.
Lori Marie Key, a Michigan nurse who has been treating Covid-19 patients, sang Amazing Grace, explaining, “When I’m at work, I sing. It gives me strength during difficult times and i believe it helps heal.”
Yolanda Adams also sang Hallelujah, as networks CNN and MSNBC cut away to shots of an amber sunset over the city’s monuments and memorials.
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