Biden, Harris to speak from Lincoln Memorial during ceremony honoring COVID-19 victims

January 20, 2021

Did you light a candle in your window on Tuesday night, January 19? President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris were slated to speak from the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. (ET) as part of a ceremony honoring victims of the COVID-19 pandemic—and the Inauguration Committee chose candles as a symbol that all Americans could display concurrently in a show of unity and support, The Huffington Post reports.

The event was designed to show the Lincoln Memorial’s reflecting pool—fully illuminated and on camera for the first time ever—according to Biden’s team. The committee has also called on leaders nationwide to light up city buildings in a light amber color and ring church bells.

“We invite Americans across the country to come together for a national moment of unity and remembrance,” the committee said in its statement.

The U.S. continues to lead the world in recorded COVID-19 cases and deaths, with more than 24 million people infected and nearly 400,000 dead. Some public health experts have in part blamed President Donald Trump’s divisive rhetoric on coronavirus mitigation measures for the virus’ rampant spread.

Biden has released a lengthy plan for combating COVID-19 and recently set a goal of administering 100 million COVID-19 vaccinations in the first 100 days of his presidency, the HuffPost noted.

For months, activists have been calling for a national day of mourning for COVID-19 victims. National observances―such as Veterans Day and Hispanic Heritage Month―typically are enacted by Congress, after which the president issues a proclamation on that day each year and local governments may also hold dedicated ceremonies or events.

Representative Donald Payne Jr. (D-New Jersey) introduced a resolution in the House in November calling for such a national day of mourning for COVID-19 victims. The legislation specifically outlines the disproportionate infection rates and deaths among communities of color.

Biden’s transition team did not respond to a request for comment about a potential national day of mourning.

Research contact: @HuffPost

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