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The United States surpassed 1 million deaths due to COVID-19 on Thursday, and President Joe Biden commemorated the dark milestone in a statement urging the public to “remain vigilant against this pandemic” and calling on Congress to sustain resources for testing, vaccines, and treatments.
In the Thursday morning statement, Biden also mourned the “irreplaceable” losses families have suffered as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and asked that the nation “not grow numb to such sorrow.” The president will also issue a presidential proclamation on Thursday ordering flags to be flown at half-staff to mark the milestone.
“Today, we mark a tragic milestone: one million American lives lost to COVID-19. One million empty chairs around the dinner table. Each an irreplaceable loss. Each leaving behind a family, a community, and a nation forever changed because of this pandemic. Jill and I pray for each of them,” Biden said.
“To those who are grieving, and asking yourself how will you go on without him or what will you do without her, I understand,” he added. “I know the pain of that black hole in your heart. It is unrelenting. But I also know the ones you love are never truly gone. They will always be with you.”
“As a nation, we must not grow numb to such sorrow. To heal, we must remember. We must remain vigilant against this pandemic and do everything we can to save as many lives as possible, as we have with more testing, vaccines, and treatments than ever before. It’s critical that Congress sustain these resources in the coming months.”
The president concluded his message with a plea for unity, a pledge that he will “never give up,” and a prayer for the 1 million Americans who have died as a result of the pandemic.
“In remembrance, let us draw strength from each other as fellow Americans. For while we have been humbled, we never give up. We can and will do this together as the United States of America,” Biden said. “May God bless the one million American lives lost and their loved ones left behind.”