On Monday night, President Biden paid tribute to the staggering number of Americans who have lost a loved one during the coronavirus pandemic when the death toll surpassed 500,000.
Biden called the milestone “truly grim” and “heartbreaking,” noting that the pandemic has claimed more American lives than World War I, World War II and the Vietnam War combined.
“That’s more lives lost to this virus than any other nation on Earth,” Biden said.
At least 500,071 people had died from the virus at the time of his comments.
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The president identified with families who have suffered the loss of a loved one due to COVID-19, reminding them that there is a path through pain and grief.
“For those who have lost loved ones, this is what I know, they have never really left, they will always be a part of your heart,” Biden said. “The day will come when the memory of the loved one you lost will make you smile rather than a tear in your eyes … my prayer for you is that [those days] it will come sooner rather than later. “
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The President, First Lady, Vice President, and Second Gentleman held a moment of silence in front of the White House, where 500 candles were lit intended to represent the more than 500,000 American lives lost.
Biden also urged Americans to resist becoming “insensitive” to the death toll and not viewing the deaths simply as a statistic reported on television.
“We can find a purpose, a purpose worthy of the life they lived and the country we love,” Biden said.