Jan 19, 2021
Joe Biden & Kamala Harris Speech Transcripts at COVID-19 Victim Memorial
The Presidential Inaugural Committee hosted a memorial for victims of the coronavirus at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. January 19. Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, and others spoke at the memorial. Read their speech transcripts here.
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Cardinal Gregory: (00:30)
At this twilight hour, our beloved nation reverently pauses in supplication, to remember and to pray for the many thousands of people who have died from the coronavirus during this past year. We turn to the Lord of all to receive these, our sisters and brothers, into eternal peace, and to comfort all those who grieve the loss of a loved one. This virus, more than taking the lives of too many of our citizens, as well as people around the globe, has left in its wake a sobering awareness that we are all united in the sorrow that we recognize today. We pray for those who have died, and the families and loved ones that they left behind. We do so not as strangers or disinterested persons, but as fellow citizens who share some limited portion of their grief and sorrow.
Cardinal Gregory: (01:47)
We pray for the countless families and relatives who had to surrender their loved ones without the comfort and the consolation of a familiar funeral ritual, according to their religious traditions or selections. That privation only added to the sadness engendered by the death of a friend, a relative, or a colleague. May our prayer this evening serve as a small expression of our national desire to comfort and strengthen those who have endured the loss of a loved one to this pandemic, and may it be a resounding gesture of gratitude for all those who have cared for the victims of this virus and their loved ones.
Cardinal Gregory: (02:47)
Our sorrow unites us to one another as a single people with compassionate hearts. May our prayer strengthen our awareness of our common humanity and our national unity at a time when harmony is a balm that seeks to comfort and strengthen us as a single people facing a common threat that is no respecter of age, race, culture, or gender. Let us with one heart commend those who have died from this virus and all of their loved ones to the providential care of the one who is the ultimate source of peace, unity, and concord. Amen.
Kamala Harris: (04:25)
Thank you, Cardinal Gregory, for that beautiful prayer. We gather tonight, a nation in mourning, to pay tribute to the lives we have lost, a grandmother or grandfather who was our whole world, a parent, partner, sibling, or friend who we still cannot accept is no longer here. And for many months, we have grieved by ourselves. Tonight, we grieve and begin healing together. Though we may be physically separated, we, the American people, are united in spirit, and my abiding hope, my abiding prayer, is that we emerge from this ordeal with a new wisdom, to cherish simple moments, to imagine new possibilities, and to open our hearts just a little bit more to one another.
Kamala Harris: (05:36)
It is now my great honor to introduce Lori Marie Key. Lori is a nurse at St. Mary Mercy Livonia Hospital outside of Detroit. Her community was hit hard when the virus struck, and Lori was assigned to the COVID unit. Lori is known for singing on the hospital floor, and a video of her singing a certain hymn inspired our nation. She joins us this evening to honor those we have lost with that same hymn, Amazing Grace.
Lori Marie Key: (06:19)
Thank you so much, Vice President-elect Harris. It is an honor to be here with you and with President-elect Biden. Working as a COVID nurse was heartbreaking. It’s heartbreaking for the patients who are sick. It was heartbreaking for the families who couldn’t be there with them, and it was heartbreaking for those caring for them. But when I’m at work, I sing. It gives me strength during difficult times, and I believe it helps heal. So here is Amazing Grace.
Lori Marie Key: (06:54)
Lori Marie Key: (06:54)
Joe Biden: (08:46)
Thank you, Lori. As I said to His Eminence, as we were waiting to come in, and I mean this from the bottom of my heart, if there are any angels in heaven, they’re all nurses. We know from our family experience what you do, the courage and the pain you absorb for others. So thank you. Thank you, Your Eminence, Cardinal Gregory, Yolanda Adams.
Joe Biden: (09:18)
To heal, we must remember. It’s hard sometimes to remember, but that’s how we heal. It’s important to do that as a nation. That’s why we’re here today. Between sundown and dusk, let us shine the lights in the darkness, along the sacred pool of reflection, and remember all whom we lost.