Bloomington, Indiana – The lights hanging from the Monroe County Courthouse switch on at 5:27 p.m. Tuesday, even though it was still light. At precisely 5:30 p.m., the faint bell ringing echoed from the tower above the illuminated municipal building.

Every ring was soft, easily obscured by passing traffic, and difficult to hear from across the street.

Some people walking around the square looked up at the building and saw at least one of the 108 circles.

As part of a national day of remembrance for people who died from COVID-19, this illuminating of the lights and the ringing of bells was one of thousands of similar ceremonies held across the world on Tuesday. The event was set up by the President-elect Joe Biden’s Presidential Inaugural Committee.

Few, if any, people gathered for the tolling of bells in the square. The Monroe County Board of Commissioners, which arranged the activity, urged individuals on the commissioner’s Facebook page to practice social distancing or follow it on a live video. By 9:30 p.m., about 173 people had viewed the five-minute video.

Monroe County Commissioner Penny Githens said she wanted the county to participate in this ceremony because remembering all the people who have died since the COVID-19 pandemic started is important for the community.

Githens said she also hopes that this act of remembrance makes people remember to obey the protocols of COVID-19, such as social distancing, maintaining good hygiene and wearing masks.

In terms of cases and deaths in the United States, COVID-19 is at an all-time high. According to Johns Hopkins University, the U.S. suffered 400,000 COVID-19 deaths on Tuesday afternoon.

Comments from Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris were part of the memorial ceremony in Washington. Their speeches on suffering the loss of loved ones and remembering victims of COVID-19 were accompanied by the lighting around the edge of the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool of 400 lights. Every light accounted for 1,000 lives lost to COVID-19 in America.

“It’s hard sometimes to remember, but that’s how we heal,” Biden said at the ceremony. “It’s important to do that as a nation.”