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Bells at Washington National Cathedral toll for U.S. lives lost to COVID-19


Here's one of the ways that Americans have marked the death toll from COVID, which is now over 700,000 people in the United States.


The National Cathedral here in Washington, D.C., yesterday rang a bell for each thousand people lost.

JAN NAYLOR: Every death, every person is worthy of our remembrance and our grieving.

INSKEEP: Reverend Jan Naylor of Washington National Cathedral says the church has done this each time the death toll goes up another 100,000.

NAYLOR: We would never have imagined we would be here at 200,000, 300,000, 400,000, 500,000, 600,000 and today at 700,000. It's just heartbreaking.

MARTIN: For more than an hour, the cathedral's bells rang out across the nation's capital and virtually through a livestream.

NAYLOR: It's incredibly important that we not become numb to the magnitude of the loss of each individual life.


MARTIN: Even if you haven't lost someone personally, millions of Americans have, including Reverend Naylor herself.

NAYLOR: The very first funeral that I participated in was one of our Cathedral community colleagues.


NAYLOR: It was the first of what would become way too many virtual funerals that we did in the Cathedral. And she was a dear friend, and I preached at that service. And it was hard.

INSKEEP: The National Cathedral's act did in sound what another display did visually - 700,000 white flags on the National Mall, which reminded Naylor of another national symbol.

NAYLOR: Just as anyone who visits Arlington Cemetery and sees row after row after row of the headstones recognizes the sacrifice and collective loss.


INSKEEP: Yesterday, people across Washington, D.C., heard the sound of the bells.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.