Half a million dead in a year.
Half a million members of our American family lost, loved ones dying alone because we were forced to stay away by this pandemic.
The deepest cut is that most of these coronavirus deaths should have been preventable with even the most basic of nationally organized standards of mitigation — with just the most basic unified leadership.
How many families mourned in isolation, unable even to hold a funeral or memorial gathering for lost loved ones?
For the past year, as our American family was devastated by Covid-19 deaths, mendacity and chaos were all we had from the former president. A steady stream of division and lies and dangerous edicts poured from the mind of the chaos-man in the White House. Assaults on science and fact were eagerly flogged at his behest by all his equally chaotically mendacious lackeys, ever willing to flood the airwaves and social media with deadly propaganda.
We could not mourn together as a nation. We had no empathetic leader who would lead us in mourning as a nation. We could not mourn because the man who squatted in the Oval Office — the man who took every death as an affront, as a personal attack on him — was incapable of leading us in our national grief, was incapable of grieving for anyone himself.
It felt as if national grief was simply not permitted.
At last though, America is led by a man who calls us to our better selves… a man who calls us to see each other as neighbors, as one national family.
We now have a leader who grieves with us, who grieves for every life lost.
Finally, we have a president who grieves for every family devastated by loss, and leads the nation in our national grief.
Thank you, President Biden, for understanding our and for sharing our grief. Thank you for grieving with us. Thank you for leading our our American family in our much needed national grief… and for leading us in the beginning of our long road to healing and back to our better selves.
QUOTING BIDEN’S EULOGY, FROM USN:
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 more than 500,000 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.”
“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.”
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.
“This nation will smile again. This nation will know sunny days again. This nation will know 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 have to resist viewing each life as a statistic or a blur or, on the news. We must do so to honor the dead. But, equally important, to care for the living.”
The president ordered flags on federal property lowered to half staff for five days and then led the moment of communal mourning for those lost to a virus that often prevents people from gathering to remember their loved ones.