Members of the House and Senate gathered on the steps outside the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., Tuesday night to honor 500,000 lives lost from COVID-19 with a moment of silence and candle lighting ceremony.
The nation passed the grim milestone on Monday, just over a year after the first confirmed US fatality due to the novel coronavirus.
Senator Ed Markey along with a number of his colleagues commemorated the moment, calling it a “monumental tragedy that was so very preventable and which we will remember forever.” The state senator posted a photo of himself on Twitter, illuminated by a single candle he held in one hand.
Representative Ayanna Pressley also voiced her support for the evening commemoration. She posted a photo of what appeared to be about 100 people standing outside the Capitol, holding candles.
Representatives Katherine Clark and Bill Keating also honored the half-million Americans whose “stories have ended prematurely over the past 11 months,” Keating tweeted. “We must commit ourselves to keeping their memories alive and holding up their families.”
Tonight I joined my colleagues in a moment of silence as we remembered the 500,000 lives lost to COVID-19. A half-million American stories have ended prematurely over the past 11 months, and we must commit ourselves to keeping their memories alive and holding up their families.— Congressman Bill Keating (@USRepKeating) February 24, 2021
The ceremony mirrors one that happened at the nation’s capital on Monday. At the White House, President Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and their spouses lit candles to memorialize the dead and led the country in a national moment of silence. Bells at the Washington National Cathedral rang 500 times.