President Joe Biden provided a 10-minute address from the White House on Monday as the country’s death toll from the coronavirus pandemic eclipsed 500,000 lives, as the Covid-19 crisis enters its 2nd year.
The president prompted Americans to decline apathy and join in grieving, remembrance, empathy and a shared dedication to fight the general public health crisis.
Following his remarks, he stood with First Lady Jill Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff to observe a moment of silence to identify the country’s death toll.
Check out the president’s remarks in full:
” Every day, I get a little card in my pocket that I carry with me in my schedule. It reveals the variety of Americans who have been infected by or died from Covid-19. Today, we mark a truly grim, heartbreaking milestone: 500,071 dead. That’s more Americans who have passed away in one year in this pandemic than in World War I, The Second World War and the Vietnam War integrated. That’s more lives lost to this infection than any other country on Earth.
” But as we acknowledge the scale of this mass death in America, we keep in mind each person and the life they lived. They’re people we understood. They’re people we feel like we knew. Read the obituaries and remembrances. The son who called his mama every night simply to sign in. The father’s child who illuminated his world. The very best buddy who was constantly there. The nurse– the nurse and nurses– however the nurse who made her patients wish to live.
” I was just in Kalamazoo, Michigan, at the Pfizer vaccine production facility. There, I met a male when I walked in, whose father-in-law was dying of the infection. He was sad. I asked if I could call his father-in-law. He stated his father-in-law was too sick to speak. However then he stated, however could I wish him.
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” All of us know somebody– fellow Americans who lived lives of battle, of function, and of hope. Who talked late into the night about their dreams, who used the uniform, born to serve, who liked, prayed, and always used a hand.
” We typically hear people referred to as ‘normal Americans’. There’s no such thing; there’s nothing normal about them. The people we lost were remarkable. They spanned generations– born in America, immigrated to America. However just like that, many of them took last breath alone in America.
” As a country, we can’t accept such a terrible fate. While we have actually been battling this pandemic for so long, we have to resist ending up being numb to the grief. We have to resist viewing each life as a statistic or a blur or ‘on the news’. And we should do so to honor the dead, however similarly crucial, look after the living and those left.
” For the liked ones left behind, I know all too well. I understand what it’s like to not exist when it occurs. I understand what it’s like when you exist, holding their hands. There’s a look in your eye, and they slip away. That great void in your chest– you feel like you’re being sucked into it, the survivor’s remorse. the anger. the questions of faith in your soul.
” For a few of you, it’s been a year, a month, a week, a day, even an hour. And I know that when you gaze at that empty chair around the cooking area table, it brings all of it back, no matter the length of time ago it took place, as if it simply happened that minute you looked at that empty chair. The birthdays, the anniversaries, the vacations without them. And the daily things– the small things, the tiny things– that you miss one of the most. That aroma when you open the closet. That park you go by that you used to walk in. That movie theater where you satisfied. The morning coffee you shared together. The bend in his smile. The best pitch to her laugh.
” I got a letter from a daughter whose daddy died of Covid-19 on Easter Sunday last year. She and her children– his grandchildren– enter Lent this season, a season of reflection and renewal, with aching hearts. Unable to effectively mourn, she asked me in the letter, ‘What was our loss amongst many others?’
” Well, that’s what has actually been so terrible. So many of the rituals that assist us cope, that assist us honour those we enjoyed, have not been readily available to us. The final rites with household gathered around. The appropriate homegoing, showered with stories and love. Tribal leaders passing without the final traditions of spiritual cultures on sacred lands.
” As a nation, we can not and we need to not let this go on. That’s why the day prior to my inauguration, at the Covid-19 Memorial at the Reflecting Pool on the National Shopping mall, I stated to heal, we must keep in mind. I know it’s difficult. I promise you, I know it’s difficult– I remember. But that’s how you heal: You need to remember. And it’s likewise essential to do that as a country.
” For those who have lost enjoyed ones, this is what I know: They’re never really gone. They’ll constantly be part of your heart. I understand this, also– and it appears unbelievable, however I guarantee you: The day will come when the memory of the liked one you lost will bring a smile to your lips prior to a tear to your eye. It will come. I promise you. My prayer for you however is that day will come sooner rather than later on. And that’s when you understand you’re going to be OKAY. You’re going to be OKAY.
” And for me, the method through grief and grief is to find function. I do not know the number of you have lost somebody a while back and are questioning, ‘Is she or he proud of me now? Is this what they desire me to do?’ I understand that’s how I feel. And we can discover purpose– function worthy of the lives they lived and deserving of the nation we love.
So today, I ask all Americans to bear in mind: Keep in mind those we lost and those who are left behind.
But as all of us remember, I likewise ask us to act. To remain alert, to stay socially distanced, to mask up, get vaccinated when it’s your turn. We should end the politics and misinformation that has divided families, communities, and the nation, and has actually cost a lot of lives already. It’s not Democrats and Republicans who are passing away from the infection. It’s our fellow Americans. It’s our next-door neighbors and our friends, our moms, our fathers, our boys, our daughters, partners, better halves.
” We have to battle this together, as one individuals, as the United States of America. That’s the only method we’re going to beat this virus, I assure you. The only way to spare more discomfort and more loss– the only method these millstones no longer mark our national grieving– these turning points, I should say– no longer mark our nationwide mourning. Let this not be a story of how far we fell, however of how far we climbed back up. We can do this.
” For in this year of extensive loss, we have actually seen profound guts from all of you on the frontlines. I understand the stress, the injury, the grief you carry. But you offer us hope. You keep us going. You advise us that we do take care of our own. That we leave no one behind. And that while we have actually been humbled, we have never quit. We are America. We can and will do this.
” In simply a few minutes, Jill and I, Kamala and Doug, will hold a moment of silence here in the White House– the People’s House, your home. We ask you to join us to bear in mind, so we can recover; to discover function in the work ahead; to reveal that there is light in the darkness.
” This nation will smile again. This nation will know sunny days once again. This nation will know happiness once again. And as we do, we will keep in mind everyone we’ve lost, the lives they lived, the liked ones they left behind. We will make it through this, I guarantee you. However my heart aches for you– those of you who are going through it today.