On Monday, new Democratic US President Joe Biden called on Americans to observe a minute’s silence in memory of the 500,000 victims of the COVID-19 pandemic in the USA while urging everyone to put aside their political differences and fight together to tackle the health crisis.
“Today we mark a truly grim, heartbreaking milestone – 500,071 dead. That’s more Americans who have died in one year in this pandemic than in World War I, World War II and the Vietnam War combined,” stressed Biden in his speech.
“But as we acknowledge the scale of this mass death in America, we remember each person and the life they lived. They’re people we knew. They’re people we feel like we knew,” he said.
US President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, First Lady Jill Biden and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff observed a minute’s silence at 18:15 (1:15 GMT+2) in the White House courtyard with their heads bowed.
Five hundred lighted candles were placed on the steps of the White House.
A military band played Amazing Grace, a piece of music based on a Christian hymn written in 1779.
The US president ordered the US flags in federal territories and military installations to fly at half-mast for the next five days.
Joe Biden also urged Americans to remain vigilant, wear masks, maintain social distancing, and get their vaccine when it is their turn.
We must end the politics and misinformation that’s divided families, communities and the country. It’s cost too many lives already. It’s not Democrats and Republicans who are dying from the virus. It’s our fellow Americans,” he insisted. “We have to fight this together as one people, as the United States of America.”