IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI) - Flags are flying at half staff. Not for one death but for 500,000 of them. That's how many lives have been lost in the US to COVID-19.
President Joe Biden asked all Americans to join in remembering our fellow Americans lost to COVID-19 by flying the flag of the United States at half-staff until sunset on February 26, 2021.
President Biden spoke at a candle lighting ceremony Monday to mark the grim milestone.
"As a nation, we can't accept such a cruel fate. We've been fighting this pandemic for so long. We have to resist becoming numb to the sorrow," the President said. "We have to resist viewing each life as a statistic or a blur or on the news. We must do so to honor the dead, but equally important care for the living, those they left behind."
Biden also participated in a moment of silence, standing by 500 lighted candles outside the White House, joined by first lady Jill Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and second gentleman Doug Emhoff.
You can read the full directive below.
As of this week during the dark winter of the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 500,000 Americans have now died from the virus. That is more Americans who have died in a single year of this pandemic than in World War I, World War II, and the Vietnam War combined. On this solemn occasion, we reflect on their loss and on their loved ones left behind. We, as a Nation, must remember them so we can begin to heal, to unite, and find purpose as one Nation to defeat this pandemic.
In their memory, the First Lady and I will be joined by the Vice President and the Second Gentleman for a moment of silence at the White House this evening. I ask all Americans to join us as we remember the more than 500,000 of our fellow Americans lost to COVID-19 and to observe a moment of silence at sunset. I also hereby order, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and on all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset February 26, 2021. I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same period at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-second day of February, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty-one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-fifth.
JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.