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Cardinal Wilton Gregory, First African American Cardinal in the Roman Catholic Church, Archbishop of Washington, to Deliver Invocation

Yolanda Adams, Known as “the First Lady of Modern Gospel,” to Perform

PIC Announces that Hundreds of Cities and Major Landmarks Participating in the Memorial

WASHINGTON — Today, the Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC) announced additional details regarding the nationwide COVID-19 memorial to honor the nearly 400,000 lives lost in the United States to this pandemic.
The memorial will feature the lighting around the reflecting pool at the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool, and hundreds of towns, cities, tribes, landmarks, and communities all across the country have committed to joining the tribute in a national moment of unity at 5:30 PM on Tuesday, Jan. 19. Iconic buildings like the Empire State Building in New York, NY to the Space Needle in Seattle, WA will be illuminated, and other places across America will participate, including Wilmington, DE; Oakland, CA; Miami, FL; Atlanta, GA; Chicago, IL; Dearborn, MI; Las Vegas, NV; Philadelphia, PA; Scanton, PA; Charleston, SC; Houston, TX; tribal lands throughout the nation; and many more.

In his first stop after arriving in Washington, D.C., President-elect Joe Biden — along with Dr. Jill Biden, Vice President-elect Harris, and Douglas Emhoff — will participate in an event to light the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool with 400 lights to honor lives lost to COVID-19. This is the first-ever lighting around the reflecting pool of the Lincoln Memorial.

They will be joined by:

  • Cardinal Wilton Gregory, Archbishop of Washington, who will deliver the Invocation;
  • Yolanda Adams, a nationally-recognized gospel singer who will sing Hallelujah;
  • Lori Marie Key, with Saint Joseph Mercy Health System in Michigan who will sing Amazing Grace.

“The inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris represents the beginning of a new national journey — one that renews its commitment to honor its fallen and rise toward greater heights in their honor. In that spirit, it is important that we pay tribute to those we have lost — and their families — and come together to unite our country, contain this virus, and rebuild our nation,” said PIC CEO and President of Delaware State University Tony Allen.


Yolanda Adams triumphantly carries the torch for contemporary gospel and inspirational music. With 13 releases Yolanda has earned a multitude of accolades including four Grammy Awards and selling nearly 10 million albums worldwide. Not only is Yolanda a phenomenal vocalist, but she is also an author, record company executive, fashion designer, mother, and the host on her award-winning nationally syndicated radio show “The Yolanda Adams Morning Show.” Adams grew up in Houston, Texas. After graduating from Texas Southern University, she began a career as a schoolteacher and part-time model in Houston. Yolanda first began to garner attention for her singing in 1982. She released her breakthrough album “Mountain High… Valley Low” in 1999.

Lori Marie Key, RN is a 29-year old nurse who worked in her hospital’s COVID-19 unit. She gained prominence in April after a video was circulated over the internet of her singing Amazing Grace during a shift change at St. Mary Mercy Hospital in Livonia, MI, part of Saint Joseph Mercy Health System, which is a member of national health system Trinity Health. Lori Marie Key appeared on Good Morning America, and she was named Nurse of the Week by “Daily Nurse.”

Cardinal Wilton Gregory is the seventh Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Washington and the first African American Cardinal in the Roman Catholic Church. Cardinal Gregory grew up in Chicago where he was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago on May 9, 1973, and three years after his ordination began graduate studies at the Pontifical Liturgical Institute (Sant’ Anselmo) in Rome. There, he earned his doctorate in sacred liturgy in 1980. Cardinal Gregory has served in many leading roles in the Catholic Church including as President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) from 2001 – 2004. During his tenure in office, the crisis of sex abuse by Catholic clergy escalated; and under his leadership, the bishops implemented the “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.” The Charter also includes guidelines for reconciliation, healing, accountability, and prevention of future acts of abuse.

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