FRANKLIN, NJ ­– Members of the Franklin Township community are invited to join in a national effort to remember and honor the lives lost to COVID-19. 

The Presidential Inauguration Committee (PIC) last week announced that a lighting ceremony to commemorate American lives lost to COVID-19 will take place at 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 19 around the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool in Washington, D.C. At that time, PIC also invited cities and towns throughout the country to take part in the 'national moment of unity and remembrance.' 

Locally, Councilman-at-Large Ram Anbarasan, at a township meeting Jan. 4, shared details about the ceremony and invited residents, businesses, and houses of worship to take part by lighting candles, illuminating buildings, and/or ringing church bells at 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 19. 

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"The committee is looking for towns throughout the country to support this event and take part in this national initiative," Anbarasan told TAPintoFranklin. "This is a way to show unity and compassion for those who lost their lives as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic."

The lighting ceremony in Washington is scheduled for the night before the inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris and, according to PIC is 'the first-ever lighting around the Reflecting Pool to memorialize American lives lost.'

“The inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris represents the beginning of a new national journey," said PIC Communications Director Pili Tobar. 

"However, in the midst of a pandemic – when so many Americans are grieving the loss of family, friends, and neighbors – it is important that we honor those who have died, reflect on what has been one of the more challenging periods in the nation’s history, and renew our commitment to coming together to end the pandemic and rebuild our nation," Tobar said.

As of press time, there have been 3,732 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Franklin Township as well as 183 deaths. For more detailed information, visit

According to Anbarasan, the lighting ceremony is 'not controversial' and something that can be participated in across party lines throughout the country. 

"I think this is a good thing to do," he said, noting that his daughter and son-in-law, who are both physicians, caught the virus late last year and, fortunately, recovered. "This hits close to home for me. I urge all to take utmost care observing CDC guidelines and, when available, get the vaccine," added Anbarasan. 

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