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Biden inauguration events to include memorial for COVID-19 victims

President-elect Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, greet guests after placing a wreath at the Philadelphia Korean War Memorial.
President-elect Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, greet guests after placing a wreath at the Philadelphia Korean War Memorial on Veterans Day.
(Alex Brandon / Associated Press)

President-elect Joe Biden is planning a lighting ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool to honor COVID-19 victims on the day before he is sworn into office Jan. 20.

The Presidential Inaugural Committee said Thursday that it would hold the event on the evening of Jan. 19, calling it the “first-ever lighting around the Reflecting Pool to memorialize American lives lost.” It is also inviting communities around the country to join Washington in lighting up buildings and ringing church bells at 5:30 p.m. in “a national moment of unity and remembrance.”

“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,” inauguration committee spokesman Pili Tobar said in a statement.

The ceremony will be part of presidential inauguration events that aim to capture the traditional grandeur of the occasion while complying with coronavirus protocols. COVID-19 has killed more than 340,000 people nationwide.

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Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris plan to take their oaths of office outside the U.S. Capitol building,

The inauguration committee already announced this week that there would be no traditional inaugural luncheon at the Capitol, another political tradition suspended because of the pandemic.


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