President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris delivered remarks at the Lincoln Memorial to honor American COVID-19 victims Tuesday, the same day the national death toll surpassed 400,000.
“To heal, we must remember,” Biden said, with the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool behind him. “It’s hard sometimes to remember. But that’s how we heal.”
It was Biden’s first stop in Washington after arriving earlier in the day ahead of his inauguration on Jan. 20.
Organizers placed lights were placed aroudn the perimeter of the pool, a first-time measure, according to the transition team, to memorialize the victims.
“Between sundown and dusk, let us shine the lights in the darkness along the sacred pool of reflection and remember all whom we lost,” Biden said.
Harris, who spoke before the incoming president, said the event was meant to “pay tribute” to the hundreds of thousands of Americans who have died from the illness. She said the pandemic should serve as a reminder to celebrate the small things in life.
“Tonight, we grieve and begin healing together,” she said. “Though we may be physically separated, we, the American people, are united in spirit.”
After brief remarks, Harris introduced frontline nurse Lori Marie Key to sing “Amazing Grace.”
“If there are any angels in heaven, they’re all nurses,” Biden said, taking the podium after she left the stage.
Following Biden’s brief remarks, which included a call to remember the fallen, came a rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” by the gospel singer Yolanda Adams.
Cardinal Wilton Gregory, the archbishop of the Archdiocese of Washington, delivered the invocation.
Earlier in the day, Johns Hopkins University data showed that the country had crossed the 400,000 coronavirus-related deaths threshold, barely a month after surpassing 300,000.
As one doctor put it, one person in every 820 has died from the illness during the pandemic.
Fox News’ Kayla Rivas and Madeleine Rivera contributed to this report.