May 27, 2020

Lament: A Day to Mourn by Jim Wallis

As we pass the horrifying milestone of 100,000 American deaths to the coronavirus, we're using the hashtag #Lament100k to urge people to pause — to lament. Of course, the sentiment falls short. As a friend said to me, we can’t abbreviate all these lives; we have to try to feel all one hundred thousand of them.

One hundred thousand neighbors, friends, and family is 500 plane crashes with 200 passengers on board each one (there have only been 33 airplane crashes with 200 or more fatalities in world history), 33 times the number of deaths on 9/11, two sold-out baseball stadiums, 25 filled National Cathedrals, nearly the number of U.S. soldiers killed in World War I, and almost 15 times the number of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan combined. If a COVID-19 memorial were built today and no one else in the U.S. died from the virus, it would need to be almost twice the length of the Vietnam War Memorial wall to fit the names of all those our nation has lost.

One hundred thousand people, neighbors, friends, and family — grandfathers and grandmothers, fathers and mothers, aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, even children — are now all dead from COVID-19.

It is a marker we must not pass by quickly or easily. We must stop. We must weep. We must mourn. We must honor. And we must lament, which is to feel and bear great grief and sorrow, and reflect upon it.