President Joe Biden acknowledged the pain of the nation on Monday as the United States marked more than 500,000 deaths from the coronavirus at a candlelit ceremony at the White House, but he also offered words of hope and healing.
‘Today we mark a truly grim heart breaking milestone,’ he said in a speech to the nation before praying in silent on the South Portico of the White House where 500 candles were lit to symbolize the 500,000 dead.
‘We often hear people described as ordinary Americans. There’s no such thing. There was nothing ordinary about them. The people we lost were extraordinary,’ he declared.
No other county has had so many deaths from the virus: the U.S. accounts for 20 percent of the nearly 2.5 million coronavirus deaths globally.
The United States marked the grim milestone with flags lowered to half staff at the White House, the Capitol and federal buildings around the country.
In Washington D.C., the bells of the National Cathedral tolled 500 times for every 1,000 Americans who have died from COVID.
After the president spoke, he, Jill Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and second gentleman Doug Emhoff stepped outside to the South Portico of the White House for a remembrance ceremony. Surrounded by candles as the sun set, the four bowed their heads as the Marine Band played ‘Amazing Grace.’
Biden, in his short five minute speech in the White House Cross Hall, marked the half-million milestone with a combination of hope and grief.
‘You’re going to be okay,’ he said, speaking directly to those who have lost someone to COVID.
He reminded Americans that the virus can affect anyone. ‘It’s not Democrats and Republicans who are dying from the virus,’ he said.
‘It’s our fellow Americans. It’s our neighbors, our friends, our mothers our fathers our sons our daughters, husbands, wives, we have to fight this together as one people as the United States of America,’ he said.
He addressed the heartbreak that so many families felt at not being able to say…
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