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A Proclamation on Remembering the 500,000 Americans Lost to COVID-19


February 22, 2021 • Presidential Actions


 As of this week during the dark winter of the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 500,000 Americans have now died from the virus. That is more Americans who have died in a single year of this pandemic than in World War I, World War II, and the Vietnam War combined. On this solemn occasion, we reflect on their loss and on their loved ones left behind. We, as a Nation, must remember them so we can begin to heal, to unite, and find purpose as one Nation to defeat this pandemic. 


In their memory, the First Lady and I will be joined by the Vice President and the Second Gentleman for a moment of silence at the White House this evening. I ask all Americans to join us as we remember the more than 500,000 of our fellow Americans lost to COVID-19 and to observe a moment of silence at sunset. I also hereby order, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and on all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset February 26, 2021. I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same period at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations. 


IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-second day of February, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty-one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-fifth.  







Days to Fly the U.S. Flag at Half-Staff

Patriot Day
Initially called the Prayer and Remembrance for the Victims of the Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001, Patriot Day is designated in memory of those killed in the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. It was signed into law on December 18, 2001 and is observed on September 11 of each year. On that day, the President of the United States directs that the flag be flown at half-staff.
Peace Officers Memorial Day
Peace Officers Memorial Day takes place on May 15 of each year, close to the end of Police Week. It was created October 1, 1961, when Congress asked the president to designate May 15 to honor peace officers and was signed into law on October 2, 1962. It was amended in 1994 to direct that the Flag of the United States be flown at half-staff on this day. The only exception to this is if this day is also Armed Forces Day, when the flag is directed to be flown at full-staff.
Memorial Day
Observed on the last Monday of May, Memorial Day commemorates the U.S. soldiers who have died while in service to their country. It is customary to fly the flag at half-staff from sunrise to noon on this day.
National Fallen Firefighters Memorial
This day is a national memorial to career and volunteer firefighters who have fallen in service to their communities. It is traditionally on the first Sunday in October. Legislation was signed on October 16, 2001 requiring the U.S. flag be flown at half-staff on this day.
National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day
Observed on December 7, National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day remembers and honors those who died in the Japanese attach on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The day was designated by congress on August 23, 1994, and it is tradition to fly the flag at half-staff from sunrise to sunset.
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