Speed Reads

In Memoriam

Biden commemorates 500,000 Americans who have died of COVID-19: 'To heal, we must remember'

President Biden addressed the nation on Monday evening as the United States' COVID-19 death toll exceeded 500,000.

"We often hear people described as ordinary Americans," Biden said from the White House. "There's no such thing. There's nothing ordinary about them. The people we lost were extraordinary. They spanned generations. Born in America, immigrated to America, but just like so many of them, took their final breath alone in America. As a nation we can't accept such a cruel fate."

The U.S. has been fighting the coronavirus pandemic "for so long we have to resist becoming numb to the sorrow," Biden said. He urged Americans to honor those who have died and the loved ones they left behind, who might be dealing with survivor's remorse, anger, and questions of faith. "To heal, we must remember," he said, and to those who have lost friends and relatives, while it "may seem unbelievable, I promise you the day will come when the memory of the loved ones will bring a smile to your lips before a tear to your eye. My prayer for you is that they will come sooner rather than later."

Biden asked all Americans to remain "vigilant" and take action that will save lives like staying socially distanced, wearing masks, and getting vaccinated. "We must end the politics of misinformation that's divided families, communities, and the country," he added. "It has cost too many lives already. It's not Democrats and Republicans who are dying from the virus. It's our fellow Americans, our neighbors, our friends, our mothers, our fathers, our sons, our daughters, husbands, wives. We have to fight this together as one people, as a United States of America. That's the only way we're going to beat this virus, I promise you."

The country will know "sunny days again," Biden said. "This nation will know joy again, and as we do we'll remember each person we've lost, the lives they lived, the loved ones they left behind. We will get through this, I promise you." After his remarks, Biden went outside the White House, where he was joined by first lady Jill Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and second gentleman Doug Emhoff for a moment of silence. Catherine Garcia