On Tuesday evening the nation set aside a time to mourn the 400,000 lives lost to the Covid-19 virus. The ceremony included prayer, beautiful music, and brief words from President-Elect Biden and Vice President-Elect Harris. It was a needed moment.
The setting was particularly striking. The speakers faced the Lincoln Monument, the reflecting pool glimmering before them. Behind them was the Washington Monument and Capitol, lit against the darkening sky (this picture). As cameras zoomed in and out, we were offered views of the Potomac River, the bridges closed for inauguration, a wider panorama of Washington DC, and the statue of Lincoln.
These iconic American images in DC offered a sense of our shared national experience; a sense of our shared sorrow; and a sense of our shared resiliency. Throughout the country, other cities and towns found ways to ‘light up’ and ring bells in what was named, “A National Moment of Unity and Remembrance.”
We can barely comprehend 400,000 deaths caused by a virus we had barely heard of a year ago. Something does feel more real when we hear the stories of those who died, including details of their childhoods, careers, interests and families. It is a difficult time.
Cardinal Wilton D. Gregory included these words on Tuesday,
“May our prayer this evening serve as a small expression of our national desire to comfort and strengthen those who have endured the loss of a loved one to this pandemic, and may it be a resounding gesture of gratitude for all those who have cared for the victims of this virus and their loved ones.”
I add my prayers to those offered Tuesday. I’m grateful to those who realized it was time to pause and collectively share a time of mourning.