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Biden inauguration plan calls for COVID-19 memorial light show, church bells

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President-elect Joe Biden’s inaugural committee plans to stage a COVID-19 memorial light show of Washington, DC, monuments and is asking churches to ring their bells, to commemorate the more than 343,000 US pandemic deaths.

The plans call for church bells to ring nationwide at 5:30 pm on Jan. 19 before Biden takes office on the morning of Jan. 20.

Axios reports that Biden will lead a light show at the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool just south of the White House, though the precise timing and nature of the display is unclear.

Many other details of the inauguration remain uncertain.

Traditionally, throngs of the incoming president’s supporters pour onto the National Mall while businessmen pay inflated hotel rates to attend balls where they can rub shoulders with incoming officials they hope to influence.

Biden has encouraged supporters to stay home amid the coronavirus pandemic, though viewing stands for a parade were erected on Pennsylvania Ave. north of the White House.

The inaugural committee “is inviting cities and towns around the country to join Washington, D.C., in illuminating buildings and ringing church bells at 5:30 p.m. ET [15 minutes after sunset on Jan. 19] in a national moment of unity and remembrance,” according to a press release provided first to Axios.

Church building with bells
Getty Images

Committee director Pili Tobar said: “The inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris represents the beginning of a new national journey. However, in the midst of a pandemic — when so many Americans are grieving the loss of family, friends, and neighbors — it is important that we honor those who have died, reflect on what has been one of the more challenging periods in the nation’s history, and renew our commitment to coming together to end the pandemic and rebuild our nation.”

In Washington, DC, it’s common for churches to promote Democratic or progressive political causes.

Trump has not conceded the Nov. 3 election and is backing an effort by Republican legislators to challenge Biden’s 306-232 Electoral College victory.

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