President Biden Lowers Federal Flags to Honor 500,000 Americans who Died of COVID
By Yehudit Garmaise
To honor the almost 500,000 American’s who have died in the past year from COVID-19, today President Joe Biden ordered the flags on all US federal buildings to be lowered to half-mast for the next five days, Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.
In the White House later today, the president will be marking the somber occasion with a moment of silence and a candle-lighting ceremony: the second such event Biden has held since taking office to commemorate those who died from the pandemic.
The day before his inauguration, Biden held a lighting ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial to honor those died from COVID-19.
The staggering number of Americans lost to COVID-19: almost half a million, is approximately equivalent to the populations of Kansas City, Missouri, and Atlanta, Georgia, Associated Press reporter John Raby noted.
More Americans died last year from COVID -19 than the combined number of people who died in 2019 from chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke, Alzheimer’s, flu and pneumonia combined.
"Tonight’s events, including the president’s remarks, will highlight the magnitude of loss this milestone marks for the American people and so many families across the country," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at a briefing. "He will also speak to the power of the American people to turn the tide on this pandemic by working together, following public health guidelines and getting vaccinated as soon as they are eligible."
Psaki added that the remarks would not focus on the administration's pandemic response, but instead are intended to "have a human moment and a moment to remember the people who we've lost over the last year."
. (Official White House Photo by Carlos Fyfe)