Biden inauguration plans Lincoln Memorial lighting ceremony to honor COVID-19 victims
President-elect Joe Biden’s Inaugural Committee is planning to hold a lighting ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial the day before he is sworn into office to honor those who have died from COVID-19.
The committee said in a press release that the lighting ceremony will be held around the memorial’s reflecting pool on Jan. 19 and that it is inviting cities and towns across the country to hold similar memorials that day.
The ceremony is being billed as the “first-ever lighting around the Reflecting Pool to memorialize American lives lost.”
“The inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris represents the beginning of a new national journey. 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,” said Presidential Inauguration Committee communications director Pili Tobar.
Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will take their oaths of office the next day on the steps of the Capitol, though the ceremony is expected to be mostly virtual with no large crowd in order to comply with social distancing and other health guidelines.
The transition has already said that the traditional inaugural luncheon at the Capitol will be canceled because of the virus.
Biden has said tackling the coronavirus will be his top priority upon taking office and plans to distribute 100 million vaccines during his first 100 days and ask Americans to unite in wearing masks during that period.
There have been about 19.8 million confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. since the pandemic began, and more than 342,000 people in the country have died.