On night before inauguration, Biden grieves 400,000 coronavirus victims
After he arrived in the national capital Washington for his inauguration, United States President-elect Joe Biden led a moving tribute for over 400,000 Americans who succumbed to coronavirus. By his side was his wife, Jill Biden. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, also joined him in remembering the victims of the fatal disease. Many Americans collectively mourned. Here are more details.
Democrat Biden, one of the few US Presidents to unseat a sitting one in the first term, gave brief remarks at Lincoln Memorial. "It's hard sometimes to remember, but that's how we heal. It's important to do that as a nation. Let us shine the lights in the darkness along the sacred pool of reflection and remember all who we have lost," he said.
The Reflecting Pool was surrounded by 400 lights to mark the victims. The death toll due to COVID-19 in the US stands at 411,486, the highest in the world. The country also has the most number of coronavirus infections at a staggering 24,806,964. Just as Biden spoke, church bells across Washington chimed and the New York's Empire State Building also paid tributes.
Lori Marie Key, a Michigan nurse on the COVID-19 frontline, sang 'Amazing Grace' at the event's beginning, and gospel singer Yolanda Adams crooned 'Hallelujah' as the couples held hands. Harris, who is making history as the first woman to take the Vice-President's office, also evoked the same emotions as the incoming president. She spoke about grieving together.
"We gather tonight, a nation in mourning, to pay tribute to the lives we lost. For many months, we have grieved by ourselves. Tonight, we grieve and begin healing together. Though we may be physically separated, we the American people are united in spirit," she said.
Separately, white flags for victims were unfurled at Lafayette Square, New Orleans. The mayor of Chicago, Lori Lightfoot, asked residents to come out of their homes at 6:10 pm (local time) with lit candles to "symbolize moving from darkness to light." Memorials were also held in Biden's hometowns: Scranton, Pennsylvania, and Wilmington, Delaware. Church bells rang in communities to remember the dead.
As he left for Washington, where he served as Vice-President for eight years, Biden gave a tearful goodbye to his constituency Delaware and also remembered his son Beau, who died of brain cancer in 2015. "Excuse the emotion, but when I die, Delaware will be written on my heart. I only have one regret, that he's (late son Beau) not here," the Democrat said.
Biden is in tears as he says goodbye to Delaware.— Zach Purser Brown (@zachjourno) January 19, 2021
"Delaware you are forever in my heart."
His remarks are at Delaware National Guard HQ, now named for his son, Major Beau Biden.
"I only have one regret; that he's not here. Because we should be introducing him as president." pic.twitter.com/xPro6mJkJS