We have seen today many acknowledgments of the losses that the Covid-19 pandemic has inflicted on our country. More than 500,000 deaths in the last year–a horrific number that is so difficult to put in any reasonable perspective. So many of those deaths occurred in isolation, and for those who mourn, the disruption of our rituals of grief only compounds the pain. President Biden urged us this evening to resist becoming numb to the sorrow and to find purpose in the work we have left to do to end this pandemic. Remember and heal.
Today at Wesleyan we ended our beginning of the semester quarantine. I was so pleased to meet with my students face-to-face, and to talk with them about enduring questions concerning values and ethics, reverence and love that were as relevant a thousand years ago as they are today. We turned our attention to history, even as we thought about tomorrow.
Let us all turn our attention to the losses so many have suffered over the last year, let us find comfort and bring solace where we can. While we pay our respects with remembrance, may we remain vigilant about preventing more losses in the future. May we find common purpose and even some joy in keeping our community safe.