US President-elect Joe Biden called for national healing at a solemn memorial service at the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool for those who have died from Covid-19.
“To heal, we must remember. And it is hard sometimes to remember, but that’s how we heal,” Biden said. “It is important to do that as a nation.”
At noon on Wednesday, Biden will be inaugurated at the Capitol, at the other end of the National Mall, as the 46th president of the United States, with Kamala Harris as his vice-president, a historic figure as the first woman, African-American, Indian-American and Asian-American elected to the high office.
“Between sundown and dusk, let us shine the lights in the darkness along this sacred pool of reflection and remember all who we have lost,” Biden said.
The US death toll from the Covid-19 pandemic crossed 400,000 on Tuesday, marking yet another grim milestone, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker. Total number of infections was more than 24 million.
The Biden inauguration committee, which organised the memorial, installed 400 lights around the poll, each representing 1,000 Covid-19 deaths. They were lit as Biden and Harris spoke.
Iconic buildings across the country, such as the Empire State Building in New York and the Space Needle in Seattle, were illuminated to mark the occasion.
At a brief event in Wilmington, Delaware, before heading to Washington, DC, the president-elect got emotional while speaking about his journey so far and his eldest son Beau Biden, who died from brain cancer in 2015.