Bells at Washington National Cathedral toll for U.S. lives lost to COVID-19 COVID-19 has killed 700,000 Americans and counting. To mark the solemn occasion, bells tolled at the Washington National Cathedral to honor those who have died.

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

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

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1043600129/1043600130" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

COVID-19 has killed 700,000 Americans and counting. To mark the solemn occasion, bells tolled at the Washington National Cathedral to honor those who have died.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

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.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

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.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

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

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

Copyright © 2021 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.