The Presidential Inaugural Committee formed by President-elect Joe Biden announced this week that among the inaugural events will be a memorial for the lives lost due to the coronavirus.
The memorial is scheduled to be held January 19 at 5:30 p.m. ET, one night before Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will take the oath of office. The Presidential Inaugural Committee is calling on cities to join by ringing church bells in a “national moment of unity and remembrance.”
The event in D.C. will include a lighting around the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool.
“The inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris represents the beginning of a new national journey. However, 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,” said PIC Communications Director Pili Tobar.
As of Friday, more there have been more than 347,000 coronavirus-related deaths in the US.
This year’s presidential inauguration will look different than in years past. Biden has said he doesn’t expect there to be a large gathering, and his campaign has encouraged supporters to stay home in order not to spread the virus.
The quadrennial inauguration of a president and vice president is typically attended by hundreds of thousands. The committee says in light of the pandemic, a large gathering should be avoided.
"Our goal is to create an inauguration that keeps people safe, honors the grand traditions of the Presidency, and showcases the Biden-Harris Administration’s renewed American vision for an inclusive, equitable, and unified citizenry,” said PIC CEO Tony Allen in a statement.
While the organizers did not say the inauguration parade would be canceled, organizers said it would be “re-imagined.”
Other Inauguration Day events, such as the signing ceremony and luncheon the new president has with congressional leaders, are still unknown.