News & Politics

Where to Experience the Biden Inaugural’s Covid Memorial Lighting and Bell-Ringing Vigils Around Washington

Church bells across DC will toll their bells to remember the 400,000 Americans who have died.

Photograph by Evy Mages

This week’s inauguration events continue on Tuesday evening with a somber lighting ceremony at the Reflecting Pool to remember the 400,000 Americans who have perished due to Covid-19. The vigil begins at 5:30 PM with the lighting of 400 luminaries. President-elect Joe Biden, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, First Lady Jill Biden, and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff will attend the memorial service.

Programming features an Invocation by Cardinal Wilton Gregory, the Archbishop of Washington, and musical performances. Grammy-winning gospel singer Yolanda Adams will croon “Hallelujah,” and nurse Lori Marie Key — a Michigan healthcare worker who became known for her rendition of “Amazing Grace” during a shift change — will sing the hymn.

Though the mall is off-limits due to security, the visuals will be accompanied by the toll of church bells, including at the National Cathedral. The stately church will also project “400,000” on its stone face. Buildings across America such as the Empire State Building and Space Needle will also light up in solidarity with the display by the Lincoln Memorial.

For those who wish to partake in the moment of remembrance, the Presidential Inauguration Committee is encouraging people to light a candle in their window or ring a bell.

Watch the memorial ceremony here.



Daniella Byck
Lifestyle Editor

Daniella Byck joined Washingtonian in 2022. She was previously with Outside Magazine and lives in Northeast DC.