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Biden mourns 500,000 Americans dead from Covid as he balances grief and hope

14 3 7
23.02.2021

WASHINGTON (AP) — With sunset remarks and a national moment of silence, US President Joe Biden on Monday confronted head-on the country’s once-unimaginable loss — half a million Americans in the COVID-19 pandemic — as he tried to strike a balance between mourning and hope.

Addressing the “grim, heartbreaking milestone” directly and publicly, Biden stepped to a lectern in the White House Cross Hall, unhooked his face mask and delivered an emotion-filled eulogy for 500,071 Americans he said he felt he knew.

“We often hear people described as ordinary Americans. There’s no such thing,” he said Monday evening. “There’s nothing ordinary about them. The people we lost were extraordinary.”

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“Just like that,” he added, “so many of them took their last breath alone.”

A president whose own life has been marked by family tragedy, Biden spoke in deeply personal terms, referencing his own losses as he tried to comfort the huge number of Americans whose lives have been forever changed by the pandemic.

“I know all too well. I know what it’s like to not be there when it happens,” said Biden, who has long addressed grief more powerfully than perhaps any other American public figure. “I know what it’s like when you are there, holding their hands, as they look in your eye and they slip away. That black hole in your chest, you feel like you’re being sucked into it.” President Joe Biden reads the number of American that died from COVID-19 during a speech at the White House, Monday, Feb. 22, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The president, who lost his first wife and baby daughter in a car collision and later an adult son to brain cancer, leavened the grief with a message of hope.

“We ask you to join us, to remember so we can heal, to find purpose in the work ahead, to show that there is light in the darkness,” he said.

“This nation will smile again. This nation will know sunny days again. This nation will no joy again. And as we do, we’ll remember each person we’ve lost, the lives they lived, the loved ones they left behind.”

He said, “We have to resist becoming numb to the sorrow. We........

© The Times of Israel


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