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Shine a Light
Memorial honors lives lost to COVID-19
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The Presidential Inauguration Committee will host a memorial to honor the lives lost to COVID-19 at 4:30 p.m. (local time) on Tuesday, Jan. 19. A Washington, D.C., memorial will feature a lighting around the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool. It will be the first-ever lighting memorial to honor lives lost, according to committee spokesman Pili Tobar.

The committee is inviting cities and towns across the country to join the memorial by lighting buildings and ringing church bells in a national moment of unity and remembrance.

While Americans are so divided politically, we should be able to unite on defeating the spread of COVID-19 and we can remember those who lost their lives as a result of this pandemic. Gov. Laura Kelly had flags across the state flown at half-mast on Jan. 7 in honor of the 3,000 Kansans who had lost their lives to COVID-19. She pledged, “My administration remains committed to fighting further spread of COVID-19, and I know Kansans will do their part to protect their neighbors and loved ones.” The Kansas death total was 3,355 on Wednesday. Nationwide, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 379,255 total COVID-19 deaths.

To remember these Americans on Tuesday, we encourage elected officials in area communities to light their courthouses and city buildings. We encourage clergy to ring bells and we encourage each citizen to shine a light. The committee recommends lighting a candle in a window, but our preference would be a porch light or a flameless battery-powered candle.

“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 stated. 

After the memorial, we all need to help end the pandemic. The creation of vaccines alone won’t do it; people need to be vaccinated. Meanwhile, wash your hands frequently; cover coughs and sneezes; wear a mask in public and avoid crowds; and maintain at least a 6-foot social distance from other individuals. These suggestions all come from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which also recommends donating blood and, if you have fully recovered from COVID-19, consider donating plasma.

We can all help by listening to health experts as they make these sensible recommendations. Here’s an example: in one simulation (, researchers predicted that 80% of the population wearing masks in public spaces would do more to reduce COVID-19 spread than a strict lockdown.

Remember those we have lost to this pandemic, then honor them by helping to end it.