Biden Inauguration to Include COVID-19 Victim Memorial Ceremony

The Presidential Inauguration Committee announced plans to include a memorial ceremony for Americans lost to COVID-19 during the events scheduled for Joe Biden’s presidential inauguration.

The ceremony, which will feature lights surrounding the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool, will take place at 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 19, the day before Biden’s inauguration.

“The inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris represents the beginning of a new national journey,” said PIC communications director Pili Tobar in a statement. “However, in the midst of a pandemic — when so many Americans are grieving the loss of family, friends, and neighbors — it is important that we honor those who have died, reflect on what has been one of the more challenging periods in the nation’s history, and renew our commitment to coming together to end the pandemic and rebuild our nation.”

The lighting around the pool in front of the Lincoln Memorial during the event will memorialize the lost lives of Americans for the first time ever. The PIC also requests that cities and towns throughout the U.S. take part in the event by ringing church bells and lighting up buildings at 5:30 p.m. ET, the same time as the ceremony.

The memorial ceremony comes as over 344,000 people have died as a result of the pandemic. Biden, who spent much of his campaign and the time following his electoral college victory criticizing the Trump administration’s handling of the spread, will also forgo the typical traditions. Many of the ceremonies will be reimagined through virtual or new programs due to the pandemic.

The lighting ceremony itself, however, will be an in-person event.

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