The Washington National Cathedral is tolling its bell 300 times in memory of those who have died from COVID-19, as the death toll in the United States surpassed the 300,000 mark.
The Cathedral announced Monday that their largest bell, the 12-ton Bourdon Bell, is being tolled 300 times on Tuesday, or once for every 1,000 Americans who died from the coronavirus.
Cathedral Dean the Very Rev. Randolph Marshall Hollerith said that “the climbing death toll from this pandemic seems disturbingly routine.”
“I have grown weary of tolling this bell. I don’t want to toll this bell any more. I don’t want to lose any more lives. I don’t want us to think this is normal, or that it is just the price we must pay for living in a free society,” stated Hollerith.
“We have reached the point in America where the death toll from COVID-19 for just one day was the equivalent of 16 fully loaded 737 jets falling from the sky.”
The dean also stated that Christianity “teaches that each person is a beloved child of God, and that my well-being is deeply connected to your well-being.”
“There are simple things we can do — wear a mask, keep our distance, adjust our holiday plans — to show our mutual respect and concern for one another. Yes, we are tired from the confines and struggles of this pandemic, and yes, it’s been a long nine months,” he continued.
“But now, more than ever, we have to protect each other because there has been far too much death. A vaccine is coming and we will get through these difficult days, but we will only succeed if we do it together.”
In September, when the number of Americans who died from the coronavirus pandemic hit 200,000, the National Cathedral tolled the Bourbon Bell 200 times in remembrance of the victims.
“We toll this 12-ton bell for every funeral held at the Cathedral. Funerals mourn the loss, but they also celebrate the lives of our loved ones, and point us to the hope of resurrection,” explained the Cathedral in a statement at the time.
“This gesture cannot replace the lives lost, but we hope it will help each American mourn the toll of this pandemic.”
According to Johns Hopkins University, the COVID-19 death toll for the United States passed the 300,000 mark on Monday, with approximately 50,000 Americans dying over the span of 27 days alone. Coronavirus cases currently number over 16.4 million in the U.S.
The news comes as shipments of a vaccine developed by Pfizer, Inc. and BioNTech are being distributed nationwide and the first inoculations are being performed.
Worldwide, coronavirus-related deaths total over 1.6 million