Cities across the country participated in a memorial honoring the nation’s coronavirus victims by illuminating iconic buildings in amber lighting and ringing church bells. 

The national moment of unity, spearheaded by the incoming Biden administration, comes on the eve of the inauguration, and on the day the US surpassed 400,000 COVID-19 deaths. 

After arriving in Washington, D.C., Joe Biden and Kamala Harris delivered remarks at the reflecting pool at the Lincoln Memorial, where 400 lights have been erected to remember the lives lost to the ongoing pandemic. 

Aside from the nation’s capital, these are some of the other major metropolises joining in on the coast-to-coast ceremony that began at 5:30 p.m. EST.

New York City

In the Big Apple, Mayor de Blasio and his wife, Chirlane McCray, gave remarks at the Statue of Liberty. 

“This city, and this country, have faced down extraordinary challenges in our shared history. And as we remember those we’ve lost to COVID-19, we must also remember that the strength and unity of our people has always helped us prevail,” de Blasio said in a statement. 

The Empire State Building is lit in “heartbeat” red as part of a national COVID-19 memorial.AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

“I’m honored to stand with Lady Liberty, a beacon of hope to the nation and the world, and look forward to brighter days to come,” the mayor said. 

Dozens of buildings were illuminated as part of the memorial, including the Empire State Building and One World Trade Center. 


Over a dozen sites in Boston, including bridges and hospitals, lit up in an amber hue for the ceremony, NBC Boston reported. 

The locations include: the TD Garden, University of Massachusetts Boston and Boston Children’s Hospital, the report said.

Members of the Grant AME Church in Boston light ribbons displayed outside of the church, representing the 13,795 dead in Massachusetts from COVID-19, during a brief memorial service.EPA/CJ GUNTHER


In the Windy City, besides the illumination of certain iconic buildings, city officials invited residents and small businesses owners to shut off their lights and ignite a candle on their driveway or balcony in a collective moment of silence, NBC Chicago reported. 

Wrigley Field, City Hall and the city’s public libraries are just some of the buildings shining amber light on Tuesday night. 


Residents in the Mile High City were invited by city officials to view a virtual ceremony that featured the lighting of the Denver City and County Building, according to KUSA.

San Francisco 

City Hall, the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium and Coit Tower are among buildings in San Francisco illuminated in amber. 

“Today San Francisco will join cities across the country to light up our buildings in honor of the hundreds of thousands who have sadly lost their lives to COVID-19,” San Francisco Mayor London Breed said in a statement. 

“While we continue to work every day to keep people healthy and get the vaccine out to protect our residents and workers, it’s important for us to pause as a country and reflect on all that has been lost in the last year,” the mayor said. 

San Diego

San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria was on hand for the lighting of several city buildings in amber light, including the California Tower and the Spreckels Organ Pavilion, KUSI reported. 

“It’s important the city of San Diego stands with President-elect Biden and communities throughout the United States in this somber occasion and memorialize their deaths,” Gloria said, according to the report. 

“This will serve as a declaration that we must continue to take steps to slow the spread of COVID-19 and not allow more preventable deaths.”

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