The Presidential Inaugural Committee, per the Associated Press, announced on Thursday the tribute is set for the night of Jan. 19. The special moment will feature what's said to be "the first-ever lighting around the [Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool] to memorialize American lives lost."
In a statement, committee spokesperson Pili Tobar expressed the importance of acknowledging the toll the pandemic has had on the country as we shift to a new presidency.
"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," Tobar said.
In addition to the Reflecting Pool tribute, the committee is urging cities around the nation to join in by illuminating buildings and ringing church bells as part of a "national moment of unity and remembrance" for COVID-19 victims.
Per the latest update from the CDC, more than 341,000 have now died from COVID-19 in the U.S. In addition to still-awful daily case numbers, recent concerns surrounding the pandemic have included what Dr. Anthony Fauci described as a "disappointing" early vaccination rate.
"This is the largest and most important vaccine program that we've ever undertaken," Fauci said on the Today show earlier this week. "We would have liked to have seen it run smoothly and have 20 million doses into people today by the end of 2020, which was the projection. Obviously it didn't happen and that's disappointing. Hopefully, as you get into the first couple of weeks of January, the gaining of momentum will get us to where we want to be."