Biden inaugural activities to include memorial service for covid victims
By John Wagner,
President-elect Joe Biden’s scaled-back inaugural activities will include a nationwide memorial service ahead of his swearing-in to honor the lives lost to the coronavirus, the committee planning the events announced Thursday.
The Presidential Inaugural Committee said it would host a lighting ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool late in the afternoon on Jan. 19, a day ahead of Biden’s swearing-in at the Capitol. The committee said it is also inviting cities and towns around the country to light buildings and ring church bells at the same time.
“The inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris represents the beginning of a new national journey,” inaugural committee spokeswoman Pili Tobar said in a statement. “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.”
Biden has put a heavy focus during his transition on addressing the pandemic. In remarks earlier this week, he vowed to fully use the federal government’s powers once inaugurated to speed the production and distribution of vaccines and protective equipment.
The pandemic is also dramatically reshaping the scope of his inaugural activities. Biden’s team is urging all Americans to stay home, refrain from travel and to limit gatherings during the inauguration to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Earlier this month, the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies announced that few tickets would be available for Biden’s swearing-in at the Capitol.
Members of Congress typically receive 200,000 tickets to distribute among their constituents for inaugurations. This year, tickets will be for the member and one guest only, the committee said.