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'We Must Remember': Biden, Harris Memorialize COVID-19 Victims

Joe Biden
Alex Brandon/AP
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AP
Lights surround the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool, placed as a memorial to COVID-19 victims on Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021, in Washington, after President-elect Joe Biden spoke, with the Washington Monument and the U.S. Capitol in the background.

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, who will be sworn in as president and vice president today, called on Americans to unite through their mourning of lost loved ones.

President-elect Joe Biden addressed a grieving nation on Tuesday after the United States had earlier in the day passed 400,000 deaths from the coronavirus.

Speaking at a service to remember Americans killed by the virus, Biden praised medical professionals for their roles in caring for the ill and their families during the pandemic.

"If there are any angels in heaven, they're all nurses. We know from our family experience what you do. The courage. The pain you absorb for others. So thank you. Thank you," Biden said at the Lincoln Memorial event.

Four hundred lights were turned on to honor the 400,000 Americans who died since the pandemic began in the U.S. one year ago.

"To heal, we must remember," Biden continued in his brief remarks. "It's hard sometimes to remember, but that's how we heal. It's important to do that as a nation."

Biden was joined by Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, who called on Americans to unite through their mourning of lost loved ones.

"For many months, we have grieved by ourselves. Tonight, we grieve and begin healing together. Though we may be physically separated, we the American people are united in spirit."

Biden and Harris will be sworn into office Wednesday, and they have made addressing the coronavirus pandemic their top priority.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.