On the eve of his inauguration, President-elect Joe Biden appeared at a national memorial for the lives taken by COVID-19, calling on Americans to remember those lost to the coronavirus and to begin to heal. The remembrance ceremony was held at the Lincoln Memorial’s reflecting pool, which was lit up with 400 lights in honor of the 400,000 Americans who have died from the virus.
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, speaking before Mr. Biden, emphasized a similar note of unity. While Americans have been grieving alone for most of the pandemic, Mrs. Harris said, “Tonight we grieve, and begin healing, together.”
Nearly 200,000 flags have been placed on the National Mall ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration. The Presidential Inaugural Committee announced plans to install the public art display, which has flags representing all the U.S. states and territories. Illuminated by 56 pillars of light representing America’s states & territories, the “Field of Flags” installment covers the National Mall in downtown Washington, D.C.The five days of inaugural programming include a national day of service, a nationwide memorial to those who have died of the coronavirus and a “Field of Flags” covering the National Mall to represent those who could not travel to Washington for the inauguration.
The committee has planned a largely virtual inauguration this year due to ongoing public health concerns relating to the coronavirus pandemic and what law enforcement officials have said is an increased risk of political violence ahead of the event. There is a heightened security presence across the city following the deadly riot at the Capitol earlier this month.
All four top-ranking members of congressional leadership have accepted President-elect Joe Biden’s invitation to attend a church service with him Wednesday morning ahead of his inauguration, according to multiple reports.
The reports come as President Trump himself is set to be the first president in 150 years not to attend his successor’s inauguration. Vice President Pence is scheduled to be present at the ceremony, while the president himself will attend a sendoff ceremony at Joint Base Andrews.