The funeral bells of the Washington National Cathedral tolled 400 times on Tuesday evening, marking more than 400,000 deaths across the nation from COVID-19.
The church paid tribute while President-elect Joe Biden, on the eve of his inauguration, led a somber ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial for the victims. Churches and communities around the country joined the memorial, lighting buildings to honor the lives lost.
“It’s hard sometimes to remember, but that’s how we heal. It’s important to do that as a nation,” Biden said in remarks with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
The cathedral tolled its Bourdon Bell, one that’s typically used at funerals. It’s an expression of deep mourning and sorrow, according to the cathedral’s dean, the Very Rev. Randolph Marshall Hollerith, who said last year he hoped he wouldn’t have to use the bells to mark another coronavirus milestone.
The bell tolled 200 times in September to mark 200,000 lives, and 300 times in December, when the nation passed 300,000.
“God forgive us if we find ourselves tolling this bell again at 400,000 lives lost,” Hollerith said in a statement at the time.
The number 400,000 was projected onto the front of the cathedral Tuesday evening as 400 lights glowed on either side of the Reflecting Pool between the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument.
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